8 Nov 2016


Yeah! Another book challenge, the second of three, completed. Thanks to Kelly for throwing down the gauntlet this is the sixth book of 600+ pages I've read this year.


INNER COVER BLURB: Everybody remembers where they were the day they heard that Paddy de Courcy was getting married’

But for four women in particular, the big news about the charismatic politician is especially momentous ...

Stylist Lola has every reason to be interested in who Paddy’s marrying – because although she’s his girlfriend, she definitely isn’t the bride-to-be. Heartbroken, she flees the city for a cottage by the sea. But will Lola’s retreat prove as idyllic as she hopes?

Not if journalist Grace has anything to do with it. She wants the inside story on the de Courcy engagement and thinks Lola holds the key. Grace knew Paddy a long time ago. But why can’t she forget him?

Grace’s sister, Marnie, might have the answer but she also has issues with the past. Her loving husband and beautiful daughters are wonderful, but they can’t take away memories of her first love: a certain Paddy de Courcy. What will it take for Marnie to be able to move on?

And what of the future Mrs de Courcy … Alicia will do anything for her fiance and is determined to be the perfect politician's wife. But does she know the real Paddy de Courcy?

Four very different women. One awfully charming man. And the dark secret that binds them all …

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 282}: 19.19 Noel emerged looking pretty slinky in his new finery - black spandex tube dress - but other bloke - Blanche - could never pass for a woman: a big, solid lump with mile-wide face; mouth a red gash; thick swipes of foundation; visible stubble; Margaret Thatcher wig; old-fashioned mauve tweed suit (at front of skirt, his man-bump clearly visible) and pale pink blouse - exact colour of band-aid - with pussy-bow tied crookedly, just underneath super-sized Adam's apple. 

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

MY THOUGHTS: Paddy de Courcy: 'charismatic', 'charming'? Really? Sadly, as with the other characters, I'm afraid I didn't like him. Not so much a problem (after all who says you have to like a character to enjoy them?) if I hadn't been so disappointed that there wasn't one of them I did like, that I didn't manage for whatever reason to engage with any of them in anything other than the most superficial of ways.

And it wasn't only the characters. Alas This Charming Man wasn't to my taste as far as writing goes in general. The first time I've ever read any of the author's work. I'm not sure how prolific a novelist she is but to me the whole novel felt rushed, almost as if it was churned out to order. 

Then there was the fact that ...

Not so much a diary entry (not my favourite format at the best of times it has to be said) as, with its dates and times, what I felt was a FaceBook status up-date (complete with bad spelling and grammatical errors). I'm afraid I found the way in which Lola's story was presented annoying in the extreme. Still, amongst the four female protagonists, at least hers was a voice that stood out. The other three merely merged into one another the more I read and less I came to care.

With its themes of addiction and domestic abuse darker, much darker, that I had expected. If this book had one redeeming feature it would have to be its mix of pathos and occasional humour.


Gina R said...

Goodness me! Didn't see those darker aspects coming though with how "charming" Paddy was suppose to be, I suppose something had to be amiss. Thanks for the share and congrats on the challenge!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I haven't read this author either. Sounds like this isn't the book to try.

Kelly said...

Job well done on completing the challenge! Especially so, now that I've read your review and see how disappointing the book was. You deserve extra props for sticking with it. A couple of mine were harder reading, but overall I enjoyed them all.

I'm already getting excited thinking about challenges for next year.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm sorry to hear this didn't work for you! I don't know if the format would be my thing or not - I do like a unique format! Sorry you didn't really enjoy the characters though, and that the book was darker than expected.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

At over 600 pages, a book would have to be something special to hold my attention and this definitely doesn't sound as though it comes close!

Marian Keyes is a very prolific author and her books get donated into the charity shop on a regular basis, but I have never personally felt the urge to start reading one of her stories myself.

The style of writing just doesn't flow for me, which is quite strange when I consider that many of her Irish contemporaries are amongst my favourite authors. Sadly, even this storyline doesn't appeal and I certainly wouldn't put myself through the pain of reading something I didn't think I might stand a chance of enjoying, just for the sake of a challenge!

Honest as ever and I am so pleased that you are :)


Suko said...

Thank you for your honest review, Tracy.

kimbacaffeinate said...

Hmm, was shocked to see the darker aspects of this. Not sure it is for me.

Melliane said...

yes that's something I wouldn't expect either. not sure it's for me

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, I’ve not read this, but I have read another book by Marian Keyes (I can’t even remember the title), but I do remember thinking it was utter rubbish. Hence I’ve avoided her books ever since. She has written tons of stuff and seems to be very popular so maybe I picked the wrong one. I have thought about trying something else of hers. I will be sure to avoid this one though. :-)

Natasha Hill said...

Oh no! Looking at the cover and hearing about the blurb it sounded like it was going to be a fairly light hearted read, so wasn't expecting those darker undertones there. Sorry to hear it wasn't a favourite of yours but well done on another challenge down, and thank you for the kind words on my recent posts too! - Tasha

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, I just came over to share this with you (mostly because of the hedgehog!)


If you've seen it already please ignore this comment

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. I read a couple of books by this author many years ago, but haven't read anything in recent years. Glad to read your review. Very helpful!