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April 17, 2016 / ljbradburn-Smith

The Woman Who Stole My Life

the woman who stole my life

After starting a new job 6 months ago, as a Nanny, I experienced something recently that I have not experienced before – going abroad for work. As I packed for a weeklong trip with my work-family, to Spain, I knew that I’d need some good reading material to get me through the quiet times (when I would normally have been annoying my husband) and keep me company when I was feeling homesick. And who better for the job, I thought, than Marian Keyes herself.

The Woman Who Stole My Life is the story of Stella Sweeny, a one-time accidental author, who, after a year spent in New York touring her full-of-promise self-help book, has arrived back home to Ireland, with her tail between her (only slightly bigger than when she left) legs. Stella’s desperate attempts to conquer writer’s block, give up her beloved Jaffa Cakes and forget about the people she left in New York are just a few of her daily battles.  As Stella’s story, leading up to and after the publishing of her novel, unfolds, the reader learns why exactly it is that she ignores her phone calls and has a self-imposed Google block on a certain someone’s name.

The thing I love most about Marian Keyes’s writing is her ability to create such relatable characters, who pretty much always end up feeling like lifelong friends. Her characters suffer from very real problems, with heartbreak, depression, long-term illness, addiction and self image issues all featuring in her novels, yet I never fail to feel comforted by Keyes’s humour and the hope that she inevitably delivers to her readers, as we see her protagonists come out of the other side. I would never describe her books as depressing, despite the fact that the struggles she portrays are sometimes more real to me than I would like to dwell upon.  It would be impossible to when she writes with such understanding, wit and warmth.

Whilst I wouldn’t say that this was my favourite Keyes novel, because to be honest nothing can beat the Walsh family series of novels for me, I will say that it delivered just the book cuddle that I was looking for on those lonely Spanish nights. So Marian, thank you for coming along for the ride.

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