Book Review : The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

November 11, 2014 Book review 6 ★★★½

When I want a book that has a conversational tone and characters with depth, all wrapped up with a sharp, dry wit; Marian Keyes is the author whose books I will turn to.

Book Review : The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian KeyesThe Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes
Published by Penguin Books Limited (UK) on 2014-11-06
Genres: Contemporary, Emotions & Feelings, Family Life, Love & Romance
Pages: 500
Source: NetGalley

'Okay, I'll write my introduction. 'Name: Stella Sweeney. Height: average. Recent life events: dramatic.'

Stella Sweeney is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her husband Ryan and their two teenage kids in Dublin. She works with - or really for - her terrifyingly ambitious sister Karen in their beauty salon. Nothing to get excited about here. Nothing to make her particularly unhappy. Or happy... No-one would be interested in stealing her life.

But then things started to happen...

One day, Stella, attempting a good deed, causes a little car accident and faces down a bad tempered, handsome stranger. She hardly gives it much of a thought. But karma is hovering, and is about to take over, swoop in and change Stella's life for ever. For better or worse.

Suddenly Stella has a life. A thrilling glamorous one. A life that other people might start to covet...

First Line of The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes:

“Can I make one thing clear – no matter what you’ve heard, and I’m sure you’ve heard plenty – I’m not a full-blown Kama-Denier.”

My Thoughts on The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes:

I really enjoy Marian’s books and this one is no exception.  They are fun but not fluffy and I love the range of issues that she tackles in her books.  I’ve been a fan of Marian since her very first book (Watermelon) and I’m really impressed with the growth that I’ve seen over the years.  Her books are not the same as when she first starting writing but I’m also not the same reader so I love that her characters have matured as has her writing.

But when I say mature themes and mature characters, I don’t mean dull as dishwater.  They are still jovial, full of life and give me plenty of smirks as I was reading.  The humour is wry and I love that it might take a moment for it to hit you.

I feel that the author puts a lot of herself out there for all to see in her characters.  She has gone through (and continues to go through) some major depressive episodes.  Through her books, I have become much more empathic to what that feels like.   She can go from making me laugh one minute, to working in the serious and hitting me in the gut with feels.  I won’t say her books take me to a happy place because they don’t so much anymore as they don’t hide all the dark elements that life can throw at you.  But they do make me think and feel all the emotions.

In this book, Stella has to cope with Guillain-Barré syndrome.  Which was one of these illnesses, I’ve heard about but didn’t know what it really was.  And while reading I was freaking out a bit as basically Stella was paralysed, she couldn’t control any part of her body.  She couldn’t talk or move or breathe, all she could do was blink.  Her frustration and fear were palpable to me as I was reading and I wish I couldn’t imagine how horrific this all is but thanks to reading the book, I can!  Shudder!

However, thankfully Stella recovers (not a spoiler – it’s revealed very early on in the book) because it made for a very intense read while it lasted.  During this time Stella developed a blinking communication system with her neurologist and it led to a very intimate relationship between them.  This did lighten the book as well as jumpstart a rollercoaster journey for Stella, Dr Mannix and their families.

Stella is also a published author and I loved the insight we got into the publishing industry.  This was probably my favourite part of the book as I love sneak peeks in the behind-the-scenes elements of the bookish world.  It certainly doesn’t gloss over how relentless the book publicity whirlwind is for an author and it made me take my rose-tinted glasses off and it see it for the hard slog that it is.

The pace held up ok; there are two timelines and it took a while for it all to come together.   There are lots of twists and turns and it did keep me invested  but somehow still felt a bit slow.  The wit and intensity of the characters more than made up for the pace for me though.   And I loved that ending, it was just perfect for all that gone on previously.

Overall not my favourite Marian Keyes book but it’s an interesting change of style and I know that whatever Marian writes, I’ll be reading.  Just as I have done for the past nearly twenty years.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-half-stars


Who should read The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes?

I’d recommend this to those who like to read about strong, non self-pitying characters who persevere and fight.  Plus If you enjoy dry wit combined with darker elements, then I think you’d also like this.  I’m hesitant to say read this if you are a fan of Marian’s previous books as it does feel different.  Not bad different, just different, less chick-lit and more grown up.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books (UK) for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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6 Responses to “Book Review : The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes”

  1. Donna @ OnDBookshelf

    I’m a fan of Marian Keyes, so like you, I will read this even if it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. Then again, I’ve read several reviews like yours, so maybe I’ll go in with lower expectations, and end up being surprised.
    Donna @ OnDBookshelf recently posted…Review: Winter Street

  2. Elizabeth (Silver's Reviews)

    First of all, you have a very lovely blog.

    I have wanted to read this book just because of the title. After reading your review, I want to now read it because the content sounds quite good, and I love how you wrote the review. I also don’t know this author…sounds like an author to “check out.”

    ENJOY your reading week. I am going to look around and follow you also.

    I found you in the list of Bloggers Commenting Back.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog
    Elizabeth (Silver’s Reviews) recently posted…A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas

    • trish

      I love title too and I was puzzling over it for so much of the book. It doesn’t get revealed for a long time just what exactly it refers to and I love the moment when you know just why it’s called that!

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