Guest Editor, Kellie Leonard from Never Shopped Out
Firstly, a disclaimer: I am a big Marian Keyes fan. Since reading Rachel\’s Holiday many years ago, I\’ve also had a lot of respect for her ability to tackle a meaty subject in a genre not renowned for its serious subject matter, whilst still being able to inject a lot of humour at the same time. And in her new novel, This Charming Man, she does it again.
This Charming Man follows the stories, both past and present, of four women\’s lives who have been impacted by the charismatic politician Paddy De Courcy. Lola, his girlfriend is shocked to find he\’s getting married â€“ to someone else. Grace, a journalist, is determined to get the inside track on Paddy\’s personal life, but has her own secret agenda regarding Paddy. Grace\’s twin Marnie knew Paddy way back when, so why does she care who he is marrying now? And just who is Alica Thornton, Paddy\’s new fiancÃ©?
The good &
As with nearly all Marion Keyes novels, it\’s the life and humour she weaves into her supporting characters that enrich the main plot whilst still moving it along. I adored the time with Lola\’s â€˜girls\’, and the Grace\’s interaction with her family goes a long way to explain her character, whilst cracking you up with laughter at the same time. The pieces of the puzzle come together well, and I have to say I was way off track on who had what secret when things all started to come out.
The alcoholism storyline also resonated really strongly with me, something I noticed in Rachel\’s Holiday as well â€“ Ms. Keyes understands addiction, not surprising given that she has overcome alcoholism, and her ability to convey not only the addicts thinking but the impact it has on their family and friends is handled amazingly well.
Ultimately, the best thing about This Charming Man was the fact that even though there were some very serious issues worked through by all the characters, it\’s not a depressing read.
The average &
Possibly my only disappointment with this one was that Alicia is not as fully fleshed out as the rest of the characters â€“ by the end of the novel I still didn\’t really understand her as a character.
Also, Lola\’s sections are all written in a kind of disjointed stream of consciousness style â€“ I found this irritating at first, but push through because it does click and become an expected style of Lola by the end!
It\’s not for you if & diary style stream of consciousness drives you nuts
Available now, Penguin: RRP $24.95