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This Charming Man    by Marian Keyes order for
This Charming Man
by Marian Keyes
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

I first introduced myself to Marian Keyes with the hilarious Watermelon. That laugh-out-loud book was quickly followed by the equally charming Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married and Rachel's Holiday.

Keyes breaks out of her comfort zone with her latest novel, This Charming Man, a much more serious book, though still laden with her trademark humor. It follows Paddy de Courcy - an Irish politician whose smoldering good looks and charm have earned him comparisons to John Kennedy, Jr. - and the devastating effect he had on four women. These four women tell their stories in alternating and very distinctive voices.

When Lola, Paddy's current girlfriend, finds out he is about to marry Alicia, she has a breakdown. Hot on the heels of the scoop, Lola is pursued by Grace, a journalist who may also have a connection to Paddy. And then there is Marnie, Grace's sister, a deeply troubled and depressed woman, whose entire life seems to have been shaped by a former relationship with Paddy.

Keyes excels at constructing her stories, and this book was no exception. The truth about Paddy slowly begins to unravel, for both the narrators and the reader. The women's stories are all eventually tied together, making for a satisfying conclusion.

Keyes explores such subjects as domestic violence and alcoholism in terrifying detail, and while the book is somewhat unnerving and disturbing, she ends on an upbeat note. I found myself rooting for each of the women and hoping that their individual experiences with one man would prove to be enlightening and ultimately redemptive. Even though This Charming Man is a departure for Keyes, her fans will not be disappointed.

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