The Woman who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes
Published by Michael Joseph
6th November 2014
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?
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.
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!