Thursday, 2 April 2009

This Charming Man - Marian Keyes

As a long time fan of Marian Keyes' books, I wasn't sure about the blurb for This Charming Man (2008). It almost sounded too formulaic: one man (charming, of course) with a secret, and all the women he is connected with throughout his lifetime coming together at a certain point. Obviously there were far more storylines and issues dealt with along the way, including domestic violence and alcoholism. After reading Cracks in my Foundation (2005), I once again applaud Keyes for her frankness and honesty. This Charming Man is certainly not her best work but, if you like Keyes' writing style and you're in no hurry, it's an enjoyable read.

I felt there were almost too many characters, many of whom could have sustained an entire novel on their own. Each character's background was developed in great detail, something I usually enjoy. However, this meant that most of the novel simply meandered along until about 3/4 the way through, when the action really started to kick in. I found Lola's short-hand style of dialogue quite annoying and couldn't help assigning her an English accent as a result, no matter how hard I tried to make her Irish. I'm pleased that Grace turned out to be different to how she was first portrayed. Her twin sister, Marnie, was a superb representation of an alcoholic in denial, and I think that somewhere along the line I fell in love with Damien. Who wouldn't?

Definitely one for Marian Keyes fans, but perhaps not a good 'starter' book for someone new to reading her novels.

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