Book Review – This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes charms with This Charming Man with her high tension writing that keeps you turning the page and the sprinkles of humor.

I’d have to say even though the title sounds easy and breezy, this book is definitely not what I consider a beach read. While the tale is a more serious one, that focuses on alcoholism and violence, you don’t get any idea of this nature from the back cover copy. This makes me think that Jami Gold’s idea of giving “ratings” to books is a good idea. I would have chosen a lighter novel for me two week vacation if I would have known.

Marian Keyes doesn’t fail to entertain or keep the reader guessing. The story follows four women who all linked to a certain “Charming Man.” First, their’s Lola, Paddy de Courcy’s  girlfriend who is a stylist for Dublin’s society wives. Then there is Marnie, an alcoholic mother of two little girls and wife of the lovely Nick, who was Paddy de Courcy’s first girlfriend in childhood. Marnie’s twin sister Grace, a journalist who takes on the job of writing Paddy de Courcy’s biography. Finally, there is Alicia, the soon to be wife of the charismatic politician, Paddy de Courcy and the announcement of their engagement is where the story begins.

Keyes follows each of these ladies in their very different lives similar to the way she does in The Other Side of the Story. Although, the story isn’t as entertaining and light as The Other Side of the Story, you still great a deep look into each character and how they were connected Paddy de Courcy. I found it interesting that each character were not only identified by their name placed at the top of a section about their life, but were also given a different font.

Reading from Lola’s perspective was difficult to adjust to. There were lots of articles missing. A lot! To the point where I was wondering if I could read an entire book like this and I tried to figure out Keyes’ reason for writing like this. Lola was in shock and so this could explain why her thoughts and speech were choppy. I was slightly relieved when Keyes switched characters, but I found that later in the story that I “missed” Lola and wanted it to be her turn again. I also personally found it difficult to read from Marnie’s perspective because alcoholism is depressing and I was on vacation. Since Keyes writes so well, the story was affecting my mood.

I think there is a certain “hump” that needs to be overcome in the book. Once you get over the hump, the story becomes tightly woven between the four women and you know so much about them that I need to know what’s going to happen. The ending was exactly how it should be or exactly how I wanted things to end. Because of the high stakes (alcoholism, domestic violence, sadness/depression), the ending is an emotional one.

This Charming Man is the most serious book I’ve read by Marian Keyes. I wouldn’t recommend it for a beach read, I think its best for those lazy fall afternoons when its not really hot or cold outside.

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About Nicole Basaraba

Nicole Basaraba is a Canadian writer focusing on topics of travel (Mondays), writing and literature (Wednesdays), lifestyle (Fridays) and her experiences living in the capital city of Europe: Brussels, Belgium.
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6 Responses to Book Review – This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

  1. Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for the review. Based on Keyes’ other work and this one’s title/cover, I’d wrongly assumed this would be a light read too. I’m actually more interested in reading it now than before–love an emotional read with HEA.

    Welcome back from vacation, BTW. Hope you’re back on schedule. 🙂

    • Hi Jolyse,

      Thanks so much for your comment. Yes I think the title is deceiving. Its deeper than it appears. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to read it. Then we can compare notes. 🙂

      I plan to be back on schedule as of Monday! Fingers crossed.

  2. Em says:

    I 100% agree with your review Nicole! I love Marian Keyes and enjoyed this book but I too curled up with it expecting a light but brilliant read and some of the topics covered really got to me. Some of the scenes of abuse stayed with me for days. But I guess that is why Marian is so good at what she does! I also struggled with Lola’s choppy speech pattern. It drove me mad to start with!

    Brilliant review!

    • I’m so happy I’m not the only one this happened to. I agree that some of the scenes were very graphic and a certain section about Marnie’s alcohol problem made me feel quite depressed at times, which just goes to show like you said, Marian Keyes is great!

  3. Pingback: Writers’ Uni-Verse-City – A semester in review | Nicole Basaraba's Uni-Verse-City

  4. Pingback: Book Review: The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes | Nicole Basaraba's Uni-Verse-City

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