This Charming Man – Marian Keyes

Paddy de Courcy’s getting married. Big deal, you may think. Well, for four women in particular – it’s a HUGE deal.

Lola is Paddy’s girlfriend, but – confusingly – it’s not her he’s marrying. Poor Lola is heartbroken, particularly as she’s had to find out about this through the media, and not through Paddy himself. Typically, he’s not taking any of her calls and she has no idea what’s going on. Distraught, her friends pack her off to a country retreat, hoping some respite from the outside world will help her forget about the man they never liked anyway…

Grace is a journalist. Nosey by trade, Grace is determined to find out what’s going on behind the de Courcy engagement. Grace knows Paddy of old and knows that everything is not what it seems. If he’s marrying Alicia – then what was Lola all about? Grace is determined to find out and unearth Paddy’s darkest secrets.

Marnie is Grace’s sister – and Paddy de Courcy was her first love. Now married with children, Marnie has moved on. Or has she? The news of Paddy’s impending nuptials has sent her into tailspin, and the darkness she’s fought all her life is trying to take over her life. Will she beat it, or will de Courcy ruin her life all over again?

And let’s not forget Alicia – the bride-to-be. She’s known Paddy for years and is a part of his past, present and future. But what facets of his personality has he kept hidden away… and will she find out, before it’s too late?

This Charming Man is a very clever, if weighty, book. The tale skips between the four women, telling a little of their story at a time. You’re spoon-fed information to the extent that you’re always on the edge of your seat, dying to find out what happens next. For a chick-lit novel, this is pretty dark. There are some lighter moments, but on the whole, this book deals with some difficult issues: alcoholism, rape, depression, domestic violence, political corruption – and more. Don’t let me put you off, though. It’s not a depressing book, or a difficult to read one. It’s just grittier than your average chick-lit. You’ll still whizz through and absorb it easily enough, but don’t expect the feel-good factor when you’ve finished. It’s not really a “happy ever after” kind of a book. Still fabulous, though, and definitely recommended.

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