Reading a Marian Keyes novel is like having a cosy chat over a bottle of wine with a girlfriend you only see every few years. There are laughs, the occasional tear, secrets shared, milestones celebrated and losses commiserated. I’ve read every one of Marian’s novels over the years. They have taken me through my twenties and into my thirties and have never disappointed.
The Break is Marian Keyes’s latest novel. Set in Dublin and London, it tells the story of Amy O’Connell, a 44 year old mother of two girls (and carer of a niece) who works in PR and is married to the dependable Hugh. She is part of a large, nosey family, has a ‘portfolio of friends’, and is on her second marriage. Suddenly Hugh decides he needs to take a break by himself in the form of a six month trip to South East Asia. But he doesn’t just want a break from Ireland. He wants a break from his marriage. What follows is the before, during and after effects of this decision on their marriage and family.
When I first started reading this novel, I instantly sided with Amy. After all, what kind of husband thinks it’s okay to leave his marriage and his children and do what he pleases with whom he pleases on the other side of the world? But it isn’t that simple. As the story unfolds you learn that two people make a marriage and that Amy has her own secrets as well.
What I like about Marian Keyes’s novels are that though they are funny and entertaining, full of a cast of quirky, loveable Irish characters, they also tackle tough themes from depression to domestic violence, addiction to grief. The Break has some juicy subject matter that I’m sure a lot of book clubs out there will enjoy debating.
Verdict: I devoured The Break. Marian Keyes never disappoints!