Monday, 10 November 2014

The Woman who Stole my Life

The Woman who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes
Published by Michael Joseph
6th November 2014
Hardback Edition

One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life.

For she meets a man who wants her telephone number (for the insurance, it turns out). That's okay. She doesn't really like him much anyway (his Range Rover totally banjaxed her car).

But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, and, along the way, wrenching her whole family apart.

Is this all because of one ill-advised act of goodwill? Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or hopping mad?

For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach. But is Stella Sweeney, Dublin housewife, ready to grasp it?

Marian Keyes is back with her newest book, and in my opinion, it's as fabulous as all of the others.  I discovered Marian's writing many moons ago with the publication of Lucy Sullivan is getting married which was the second of her books to be published, and for some unknown reason, the one least likely ever to be mentioned out of all of her publications.  Anyway, I loved that, instantly bought Watermelon, and have been buying them all immediately ever since.  The best bit about this book though, is the fact that for the first time in 5 years, Marian Keyes has agreed to step back into the limelight, beginning with an author session at Waterstones Piccadilly on November 5th - and I got a ticket to go along and see her!

If you haven't read any of her previous work, then I would recommend doing so.  Initially billed as 'chick-lit' when the term was first banded about in the '90s, Marian Keyes is much more than that.  Her books deal with some pretty hard issues, for example depression, alcoholism and domestic violence.  They are not just 'boy meets girl' books.  They are also incredibly witty, as is Marian herself.  One minute you can be crying, and the next laughing uncontrollably at what she has written, and as India Knight said when I saw them last week, Marian has a way of writing that continues to grow with you.  I loved her books twenty years ago, and they are still as relevant today. 
Her new novel The Woman who Stole my Life is about Stella, an ordinary Irish mother and wife.  One day she feels ill, which very quickly leads to her developing locked-in syndrome which leaves her only able to blink her eyes.  Finding herself in hospital, she develops a bond between her dishy, but married, neurologist Mannix.  Once she recovers, she writes a book about her experience and it becomes a best-seller, resulting in a move to America to conquer the market over there (and after reading that, you will never fancy becoming an author and experiencing an American book tour ever again)!

A year later, estranged husband Ryan, a bathroom designer to the stars, discovers he is not as famous as his former wife, and goes on a quest for fame himself, by giving away all of his possessions whilst recording it all online.  Stella's two children aren't wildly impressed with either of them, and then Mannix enters the scene again.  What exactly went on in America, and why has Stella had to return home?

For me, this is the most honest of  Keyes' work.  You can hear her voice throughout this book, and I think she is writing what she wants to write, rather than writing what the market thinks you should read.  Yes, this book is darker than some of the earlier works but it's fabulous nonetheless.  Stella's family are a barmy Irish bunch of characters, and the scenes where she goes home are terribly funny.  I love Marian Keyes, and I love The Woman who Stole my Life!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

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