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Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year - touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side - she's back to normality with a bang. And she's got writer's block. Stella wants a clean break as she didn't exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year - touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side - she's back to normality with a bang. And she's got writer's block. Stella wants a clean break as she didn't exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?


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Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year - touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side - she's back to normality with a bang. And she's got writer's block. Stella wants a clean break as she didn't exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year - touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side - she's back to normality with a bang. And she's got writer's block. Stella wants a clean break as she didn't exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?

30 review for The Woman Who Stole My Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    I normally don't review books, but as a long time Keyes fan, I feel compelled to. It pains me to say it, but I have a lot of beefs with this book. These are the top three: 1) The Protagonist, Stella. She just didn't make sense to me. 80% of the time she's a complete doormat. She gets bullied by her kids, her husband, her sister... pretty much all of the main cast, and she just takes it. Happily. Gratefully. I thought she might grow some back bone after she was sick, but no. The other characters (a I normally don't review books, but as a long time Keyes fan, I feel compelled to. It pains me to say it, but I have a lot of beefs with this book. These are the top three: 1) The Protagonist, Stella. She just didn't make sense to me. 80% of the time she's a complete doormat. She gets bullied by her kids, her husband, her sister... pretty much all of the main cast, and she just takes it. Happily. Gratefully. I thought she might grow some back bone after she was sick, but no. The other characters (and Stella herself) say she is prideful, but the only character she shows her "prideful" side to is the love interest who was only ever nice to her, so it came out seeming like the author was just trying to create conflict for the sake of it. They do also address that she's insecure, but it's just not enough to make me buy it. 2) The Side Characters. In short, they were just too ridiculous to be real. To be honest, I can narrow my problem down to just her son and ex-husband because the rest aren't super awful, just not as good as I know the author is capable of writing. But Jesus, those two. After awhile, they seem like sociopaths. And I get that the son was prolly meant to be taken as funny, but he wasn't. In fact, there are a lot of beats in this book that are meant to go over the top and be funny, but came off as too much and took me out of the story. It's like Keyes doesn't know when to pull back anymore. 3) The Structure, specifically the time jumps at the beginning. The hospital was easily the best part of the book. Flashing between that and the "present", well... It's not fun to go from the strongest to the weakest part of the narrative. I felt annoyed every time the good bits were interrupted. Overall, it just seemed shallow. It actually hurts me to say bad things about Marian Keyes. I mean, I had to go way out of the way to even find this book since it won't be released in the USA for awhile still. I love her and think she's very funny and very talented and I wish her nothing but the best and I actually hope this book does well (see how much I care? Lol.) Keyes doesn't always deliver and I know a lot of her long-time fans have been disappointed lately and I have to agree with them. And there's one or two of her older books that I don't love either, but! I do want to say that when she DOES come through she's completely amazing. She's on a whole 'nother level than the other writers in her genre. So I'm going to shake it off and wait for the next one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Madden

    I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley.com and PenguinUK in return for an honest review Stella has turned forty, her husband is forever working and her two teenage kids are like ships passing the night. Her daughter has a boyfriend now and thinks she's in love, while her son is more interested in yoga and cooking than being a regular teenage boy. Then an unexpected illness means Stella's life is about to change, in more ways than one. The story zigzags through different stages of a two year I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley.com and PenguinUK in return for an honest review Stella has turned forty, her husband is forever working and her two teenage kids are like ships passing the night. Her daughter has a boyfriend now and thinks she's in love, while her son is more interested in yoga and cooking than being a regular teenage boy. Then an unexpected illness means Stella's life is about to change, in more ways than one. The story zigzags through different stages of a two year period in Stella's life. From hospital in Dublin to hotels around The United States, working in a beauty salon alongside her sister, to having her own self-help book tour. Stella is re-discovering herself but there is someone watching who wants her new life, and will stop at nothing to have it. I have been a huge fan of Marian Keyes since her first novel Watermelon and have read everything she has written since. From the Walsh Family sagas to her under the duvet stories. Marion has a knack of bringing a sense of Irish comedy into all her books without them seeming contrived. This book had me giggling away from page one with the views on Karma, a Bitter Women's Bookclub and an ex-husband who is clearly going off the rails. Her father was what got me laughing the most. The vision of him reading to Stella aloud when she is in hospital, and his reaction to some of the books, was just hilarious. Unfortunately, things slid downhill from here. The narrative is weak and the chopping and changing time frames were confusing and eventually became irritating. While some sections were sub-headed with HIM, HER, this confused me more as other sections had no such headings and didn't even seem to gel together in any particular order or relevance. Stella's son Jeffrey seemed to have potential at the start of the book but became a cliche once his parents separated. Moody is one thing, rude and obnoxious are another. Demanding diva like behaviour brought his character to a whole other level, and it was not a good one. Her daughter, Betsy was given a rare appearance and had no substance. Ryan, the husband, had some bite in him at the beginning, but like his son, became so annoying a character that had he been real, I would have left the country to avoid for ever, bringing my children with me under false travel documents so he could never contact us again. A smarmy, selfish idiot who any sane woman would avoid at all costs! This bring me to Mannix. The new man who starts off as a knight in shining armor and re-appears, suddenly single, available and hankering after Stella. Not at all put off by her atrocious children and ex, he obviously sees something in Stella that I never spotted and, from here on in, the book sunk. Far too long ( over 550 pages ), poor story-line and awful characters ( except for Stella's Dad and Mannix's ex ), meant that I had to force myself to care enough to finish. Considering its great beginning, I was sorely disappointed. However, it is Marian Keyes, and I am sure it will head straight to the number one spot when published in November, just in time for the Christmas market. Sorry Penguin, this Irish reader wants the old Marian Back.......

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    **spoiler alert** What a disaster. Not quite as bad as the schlocky magical realism of The Brightest Star in the Sky, but close. This *may* be an acceptable book for a anyone who hasn't read Marian Keyes before. But for those of us who have? I think we expect her work to be, first and foremost, funny. Fail. The attempts at humour were trying too hard. I think I maybe giggled to myself once or twice. Now, the characters- usually her characters are jumping off the page and are so likeable and identi **spoiler alert** What a disaster. Not quite as bad as the schlocky magical realism of The Brightest Star in the Sky, but close. This *may* be an acceptable book for a anyone who hasn't read Marian Keyes before. But for those of us who have? I think we expect her work to be, first and foremost, funny. Fail. The attempts at humour were trying too hard. I think I maybe giggled to myself once or twice. Now, the characters- usually her characters are jumping off the page and are so likeable and identifiable. Stella is completely unengaging with no spine. I couldn't even picture her in my head. In the end she was just a failure at everything, and not in a charming way. I couldn't even see why Mannix was so mad about her. The other characters are mostly one-dimensional or boring. The zigzag timeline structure is just confusing instead of thrilling. The HIM HER ME headings? Don't even know what that's about. Everything interesting happens in the first half. We all know exactly what's going to happen. No suspense left with a couple hundred pages more to read. Then we get an in-depth look at publishing and book tours, which to me was just Keyes showing off how much experience she has in the area and venting her first world problems frustrations. Might as well be GOOP. How can you call a book "The Woman Who Stole My Life" when that woman actually factors in so little? Everything that happened to Stella was going to happen anyway, with or without Gilda. Why do all the Americans talk like Irish people? No one in America says "shall". Come on, that's just amateur. And really, the BFF ends up with the ex-husband and no one cares?? I almost threw the book across the room.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    Irish author Marian Keyes has published a string of bestselling chick lit novels since the mid 1990's including the popular Walsh Family series. The Woman Who Stole My Life is a stand alone title featuring Stella Sweeney, a Dublin wife, mother and beautician, whose ordinary life is turned completely upside down when she falls ill with a rare illness. The timeline is a little messy to begin with, starting with a fender bender that happened a few weeks before Stella got sick and then jumping to th Irish author Marian Keyes has published a string of bestselling chick lit novels since the mid 1990's including the popular Walsh Family series. The Woman Who Stole My Life is a stand alone title featuring Stella Sweeney, a Dublin wife, mother and beautician, whose ordinary life is turned completely upside down when she falls ill with a rare illness. The timeline is a little messy to begin with, starting with a fender bender that happened a few weeks before Stella got sick and then jumping to the 'present day' almost two years later and then back in time - heralded by a quote from the book Stella wrote after her recovery - to the day her illness was diagnosed. It becomes slightly less confusing as the novel progresses, with one narrative thread moving forward from the time of her diagnosis and the other through the present day, until they eventually merge. The tension in the novel is supposed to stem from learning what happened to irrevocably change Stella's life not once, but thrice. Unfortunately the 'mystery' is stretched a little too thin to sustain the length of the story and though I was riveted during the first half or so of the novel my interest began to wane during Stella's time in New York. There is a lot of emphasis on 'karma', and fate, but oddly not a lot of examples of this playing out in the storyline. Gilda certainly doesn't get what you would think she deserves, neither does Stella's ex-husband, or her son. I should have been able to relate to Stella easily, we are of a similar age and stage of life, and I did in some respects, but I soon found I didn't like her much once she recovered from her illness. She was so insecure, particularly in her relationship with Mannix, and lacked any real gumption in general. I also found most of the other supporting characters were shallow constructions, though Stella's dad, Karen, Stella's sister, and Roland, Mannix's brother, were favourites. There is some of Keyes humour in The Woman Who Stole My Life, particularly in the first half, but overall I feel it lacked the trademark wit and warmth I expect from Keyes. There is an edge of bitterness here that is never explicit, but nevertheless present. I didn't dislike The Woman Who Stole My Life but neither did I wholly enjoy it as much as I expected. It was better than The Brightest Star in the Sky but not as good as say The Mystery of Mercy Close.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Juhina

    I miss reading chick lits. They were such a big part of my reading life several years ago, very the young adult genre invaded m life. The Woman Who Stole My Life just made me realize how much I missed chick lits. This book is a whooping 550 pages but I breezed through them all. I have never read a book by Marian Keyes but I do own three of her books, Sushi for Beginners, Under the Duvet, and Rachel's Holiday. I am definitely bumping them higher on my TBR. The Woman Who Stole My Life was SO confu I miss reading chick lits. They were such a big part of my reading life several years ago, very the young adult genre invaded m life. The Woman Who Stole My Life just made me realize how much I missed chick lits. This book is a whooping 550 pages but I breezed through them all. I have never read a book by Marian Keyes but I do own three of her books, Sushi for Beginners, Under the Duvet, and Rachel's Holiday. I am definitely bumping them higher on my TBR. The Woman Who Stole My Life was SO confusing in the beginning. Stick with it. It is told from two different timelines (actually the first chapter is told from an earlier timeline). I didn't know which came before what and whether at that specific chapter, the events of the previous chapter already happened. I was officially confused. However, once I got past the confusion and the author finally started clearing things up (70 pages into the book), I breezed through it. It took me a couple of days to reach page 70, but only 3 more days to read the other 480 pages. The main character, Stella, got diagnosed with a very rare disease that left her paralyzed (except for being able to blink) for almost a year. The storyline switches between the emergence of the disease, when she is 39-ish to the current state after something big happens that we don't know what, where she is 41-ish. We know Stella wrote a book, but then it flopped and now she's back in Ireland. There is an unspoken Mr. that no one ever mentions but we do meet during her stay at the hospital. That is as much as I can reveal without spoiling anything. Character wise, stella was the most frustrating and unliked character for me. She is the embodiment of every trait in a person I dislike. She is a push over.. literally everyone, including her son, pushes her and orders her around. Her son yells at her, her ex husband blames her for things, and all she does is agree and nod. GET MAD! GET PISSED! STICK UP FOR YOURSELF! I thought of this every single time she had an interaction with anyone. She got easily taken advantage of and I wanted to give her a wake up slap every time she backed down and let people stomp all over her. She got a book deal? her husband blamed her for stealing his life and ruining him. He kept on saying her book was crap and worth nothing, and what does she say? sorry… SORRY?! ugh. Just.. no. It was really hard sympathizing with her because I don't feel sorry for people who let other people step all over them. Ok the rant is over. Ignoring Stella's personality, I couldn't stop reading. Marian Keyes has a way of keeping you hooked even when only mundane things are going on in the book. I honestly always prefer British/Irish authors when it comes to chick lits because they seem to always have a way with words, of creating the most laughable situations and making the most annoying characters enduring. I really enjoyed The Woman Who Stole My Life and will be picking up more of Marian Keyes' books in the future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elinor

    If I hadn't read anything else by Marian Keyes, I would probably have given this book five stars. However, it wasn't QUITE up to her usual standard. I love this Irish author and appreciate so much the many happy hours of reading she has given me. And I totally understand if she is a little off her game right now, having battled severe depression for some time. How can you write funny under those circumstances? But Marian nevertheless does a valiant job with this book -- it wasn't laugh-out-loud If I hadn't read anything else by Marian Keyes, I would probably have given this book five stars. However, it wasn't QUITE up to her usual standard. I love this Irish author and appreciate so much the many happy hours of reading she has given me. And I totally understand if she is a little off her game right now, having battled severe depression for some time. How can you write funny under those circumstances? But Marian nevertheless does a valiant job with this book -- it wasn't laugh-out-loud but it was amusing and clever, as usual.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I enjoyed this story of an everyday life, some funny moments and a nice ending, easy read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    It's been a while since I read this book and I'm just finally getting around to writing a review. What I can tell you is that it's on my 2015 Favorites list at Chick Lit Central. The interesting factor is that a good chunk of the story is narrated in Stella's head, since she can't talk and has to communicate through blinks. What happens next is full of interesting surprises and Stella is in for a wild ride. The characters are so vivid and there's great dialogue and description throughout. Marian It's been a while since I read this book and I'm just finally getting around to writing a review. What I can tell you is that it's on my 2015 Favorites list at Chick Lit Central. The interesting factor is that a good chunk of the story is narrated in Stella's head, since she can't talk and has to communicate through blinks. What happens next is full of interesting surprises and Stella is in for a wild ride. The characters are so vivid and there's great dialogue and description throughout. Marian adds a dash of humor and a bit of snark to both Stella's thoughts and words. There are so many twists and turns, so I was constantly surprised. All I know is that I smiled and laughed. A LOT! This is definitely my favorite non-Walsh sister book of Marian's, going to the top of the list above Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married. I highly recommend it, whether it is your first Marian Keyes book (what are you waiting for?!?) or one you've been eagerly awaiting but haven't managed to pick up yet. If I could marry a book, this would be it. Charming, heartfelt, and humorous. Marian Keyes at her absolute best! Dream cast: Roland: Eric Stonestreet (http://imdb.to/1Y0CoY3) Mannix: Gerard Butler (http://imdb.to/1Y0Cw9Y) Stella: Kate Winslet (http://imdb.to/TdQrym) Karen: Melissa George (http://imdb.to/1qiCT5g) Gilda: Ksenia Solo (http://imdb.to/25wkH8v) Ryan: Colin Farrell (http://imdb.to/1qiD2Wl) Betsy: Tessa Albertson (http://imdb.to/231pLzr)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    This book was in every way as enjoyable as the most by Marian Keyes. Jumping a bit in time, it tells the story of Stella Sweeney, Irish mum and beautician, who gets afflicted with the Guillain-Barré-syndrome (already here you could tell that I would be partial to the story as I wrote an academic work on it when I went to nursing school - very much inspired by the great No Laughing Matter and by my extensive studies I can tell you it is also called "The Landry-Guillain-Barré Strohl-syndrome". But This book was in every way as enjoyable as the most by Marian Keyes. Jumping a bit in time, it tells the story of Stella Sweeney, Irish mum and beautician, who gets afflicted with the Guillain-Barré-syndrome (already here you could tell that I would be partial to the story as I wrote an academic work on it when I went to nursing school - very much inspired by the great No Laughing Matter and by my extensive studies I can tell you it is also called "The Landry-Guillain-Barré Strohl-syndrome". But I could not tell you why two of the guys were subsequently taken out of the name. It was in 1991 for feck's sake.) Anyway - Ms Keyes writes so enjoyable that I'd read her shopping list, and this book is no exception to that. I browsed a couple of other reviews and noted that there were complaints about the characterization. Which makes me think that we read different books, as I feel I know the characters in this one on a personal level (and I'm dying for them to make contact as I wonder what happened to them after all this). The missing star is because pages 400-500 (or there abouts) made for slow reading and not much development. Then came the devastating stuff. And then came the Keyes ending (thankfully!), which I loved. This is one author I go to and will always go to when in need. Read one and you'll know when in need of what.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Figgy

    When Marian Keyes first broke into the literary scene, I was in the middle of my “so grown up I get to read all the horror” phase. I was reading Graham Masterton novels based on Lovecraftian tales and other books about the things that go bump in the night; the gorier the better! By the time I emerged from this phase and started reading more widely, Marian Keyes was well established, and when I started working in bookshops she had her own section on the shelf. But somehow, though people kept tell When Marian Keyes first broke into the literary scene, I was in the middle of my “so grown up I get to read all the horror” phase. I was reading Graham Masterton novels based on Lovecraftian tales and other books about the things that go bump in the night; the gorier the better! By the time I emerged from this phase and started reading more widely, Marian Keyes was well established, and when I started working in bookshops she had her own section on the shelf. But somehow, though people kept telling me I should give her a try, I never got around to it until now. I don’t like chic-lit where everything is happy, and the conflict is the same from book to book. I want a read to keep me guessing, to keep me interested, to surprise me. Somehow I had gotten it into my head that Keyes’ books were the light and fluffy, clichéd sort – rather than the complex, interesting, fun sort that I found in The Woman Who Stole My Life. Stella Sweeney has returned from New York and is attempting to write her second book, but life keeps getting in the way. Not that she’s been struck by any great inspiration, not that she’s able to think of the words, let alone get them down on the page... The rest of this review can be found here!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    I used to love a Marian Keyes. They were light and funny and a vacation for my mind. This as none of those things. I didn't find it funny and it was just one stupid thing after another. Initially I liked Stella Sweeney. She was suffering from a life threatening disease and you really had to root for it. Funny? No. After she recovers she makes some really odd decisions. A lot of things that are preposterous happen including how she "writes" a book. She has an ex-husband that's an idiot, a daught I used to love a Marian Keyes. They were light and funny and a vacation for my mind. This as none of those things. I didn't find it funny and it was just one stupid thing after another. Initially I liked Stella Sweeney. She was suffering from a life threatening disease and you really had to root for it. Funny? No. After she recovers she makes some really odd decisions. A lot of things that are preposterous happen including how she "writes" a book. She has an ex-husband that's an idiot, a daughter who lives in the clouds and a son who hates her. She makes her life so much harder for herself. Funny yet? In the end I grew to find her so annoying and the supporting characters made of cardboard. I was so disappointed. I had expected some cheer and got a lesson on sex with lessons I had never even thought of. That was a real eye opener. I had no idea the Irish were that randy (just kidding). I feel like Keyes, like Janet Evanovich, have exhausted their genre. I find no reason to waste your time on this.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book was a hot mess. Sometimes Keyes' hot-button Obvious Book Topic approach works, more often it doesn't. This time it bombs spectacularly, mainly because there's not just one Topic, there's several. (view spoiler)[First there's the 'chronic debilitating illness and how it can wreck your life' topic, which was certainly the most compelling and the one she should have devoted the most time and energy to - if for no other reason than to justify the gross, disgusting, unpalatable trope that i This book was a hot mess. Sometimes Keyes' hot-button Obvious Book Topic approach works, more often it doesn't. This time it bombs spectacularly, mainly because there's not just one Topic, there's several. (view spoiler)[First there's the 'chronic debilitating illness and how it can wreck your life' topic, which was certainly the most compelling and the one she should have devoted the most time and energy to - if for no other reason than to justify the gross, disgusting, unpalatable trope that is 'doctor falls in love with patient'. (If writers only realised that patients are at their least attractive when ill or thinking they're ill! Ugh ugh I think I may vomit.) Then there's the 'midlife crisis and journey of self-discovery' topic, which didn't break new ground but could have been interesting if it wasn't so glossed over. Next up was the 'woe is me a writer's life is hard' topic, which she's already devoted one whole book to - arguably the worst volume in her canon. Finally there was the weird topic from which the book derives its name: the notion that creativity is a gift bestowed upon the unworthy, and that the worthy (Stella's husband, her personal trainer) deserve to try and steal it back. I don't even KNOW what that was about. It's the method by which Keyes attempts to unite all these disparate elements, and it fails miserably. Stella is a lame-duck protagonist - I was far more interested in her go-getting, borderline criminal sister. I successfully diagnosed her before the book did, but gave up on the medical side when Keyes had a consultant neurologist come in after hours to massage the feet of a patient with a nerve disorder. What the actual fuck. I know the hospital machine and doctors in general are completely misrepresented in the media, but do people even WANT massages from their doctors? Wouldn't they rather go to a qualified professional for that and have doctors do actual, you know, DOCTORING? ... yeah, I'm still not over it. (hide spoiler)]

  13. 5 out of 5

    Keris

    4.5 really, but I've rounded up because it's Marian. And because I basically read it in a day and stayed up late to finish and I can't remember the last time I did that. Only complaint is that it ended a bit too quickly. I wanted more! 4.5 really, but I've rounded up because it's Marian. And because I basically read it in a day and stayed up late to finish and I can't remember the last time I did that. Only complaint is that it ended a bit too quickly. I wanted more!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angela Oliver

    Keyes books used to be a delightful combination of funny, poignant and dark, but now the ratio seems to be swinging too far to the dark side, and slipping into bitterness. I tried very hard to like Stella Sweeney, to empathise with her life, and while she was paralysed it was easy enough - lost in her thoughts, not knowing whether she would recover, die or remain in such a state indefinitely. Her little clashes with Dr Mannix were like tiny beads of humour, scattered amongst a tragic anxiety. Ho Keyes books used to be a delightful combination of funny, poignant and dark, but now the ratio seems to be swinging too far to the dark side, and slipping into bitterness. I tried very hard to like Stella Sweeney, to empathise with her life, and while she was paralysed it was easy enough - lost in her thoughts, not knowing whether she would recover, die or remain in such a state indefinitely. Her little clashes with Dr Mannix were like tiny beads of humour, scattered amongst a tragic anxiety. However, her real life situation just made me sad. Her son resented her, her ex-husband had his crazy-kooky ideas and her daughter a flake, but at least she was happy. the skips back to the past - her book tour, her relationship with Gilda, her connection with Mannix - the entire story was spoonfed to us in the same chunks that has become the hallmark of Keyes's first person narratives. But there was something missing, the crazy, out-there humour. Stella was selfish, whiny and came to entirely stupid conclusions (view spoiler)[I mean, when Mannix offered to order her a cab and she jumped to entirely the wrong conclusion, then refused to take his calls or even listen to him! And then at the end... (hide spoiler)] her insecurities frustrated me to the point where I wanted to slap her and tell her to "get over herself". Dr Mannix did too, apart from the initial quarreling (which was fun), he was basically just one big push-over, and I could not for the life of me see what he saw in Stella. Sure, there had been some sort of rudimentary connection when she was paralysed, but they had nothing in common except sex and you cannot build a lasting, stable relationship around sex. The rays of light - Mannix's brother Roland (about the only tension I felt was when he (view spoiler)[had a stroke (hide spoiler)] , the crazy agent with her cats - but for the most part I did not really care for Stella at all, and was almost delighted when (view spoiler)[Gilda turned the tables on her near the end. (hide spoiler)] Mostly though, I just felt angry and frustrated. I'm not really too keen, it seems, on stories of those in their early 40s dealing with broken relationships, teenaged children (although Jeffrey's "rebellion" was at least quirky - I mean foraging) and intensely sexual relationships. Give me "Rachel's Holiday" any day. Received eARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    I have read everything by my beloved Marian Keyes and she remains one of my favourite authors. The Walsh family have a special place in my heart and they brought a lot of laughter to my life. Without a Marian Keyes book in my hand is just unthinkable and I missed her terribly, but understood totally, when she was so ill that she couldn't write. I pre ordered this book earlier in this year and was overjoyed that Marian has a new one coming out. I have to say I struggled with it initially but when I have read everything by my beloved Marian Keyes and she remains one of my favourite authors. The Walsh family have a special place in my heart and they brought a lot of laughter to my life. Without a Marian Keyes book in my hand is just unthinkable and I missed her terribly, but understood totally, when she was so ill that she couldn't write. I pre ordered this book earlier in this year and was overjoyed that Marian has a new one coming out. I have to say I struggled with it initially but when I 'got it' I was totally hooked. However I will be honest and say the USA tour had me somewhat bored in places and I did feel there were a lot of unnecessary characters and events; the story wouldn't have lost anything at all if these had been omitted. There are a few laugh out loud moments but essentially this is a love story. I just adored Mannix Taylor (what a guy!) and of course our heroine, Stella Sweeney. I really enjoyed the blossoming relationship between Stella and her neurologist. Stella's is married to the most awfully selfish man, Ryan and has two children, Betsy and Jeffrey, the latter being a very angry teenager. Stella has miraculously survived a life threatening illness and has written a book about her experience. The story flips between the present and the past and, like I have said, initially it's slightly confusing as to what is actually going on. My advice is to stick with the book as it really is a lovely story. I haven't given it my usual five stars as I'm being totally honest with my review and, had I not known it was Marian that had written this book, my first guess would be that it would have been the work of Cecilia Ahern. Recommended but don't expect the usual formula.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Carter

    In my opinion Marian Keyes is the master of well written, poignant and funny women's lit/chick lit. I've been a fan of her books since I was a teenager and I love the way she combines humour with more serious issues. Her books make me want to hibernate in a comfy corner of the house snuggled under a blanket, with a warm brew and nibbles, and not emerge until I've finished. After reading some pretty bad reviews about this book, I was prepared for the worst! However, The woman who stole my life wa In my opinion Marian Keyes is the master of well written, poignant and funny women's lit/chick lit. I've been a fan of her books since I was a teenager and I love the way she combines humour with more serious issues. Her books make me want to hibernate in a comfy corner of the house snuggled under a blanket, with a warm brew and nibbles, and not emerge until I've finished. After reading some pretty bad reviews about this book, I was prepared for the worst! However, The woman who stole my life was like a breath of fresh air to me. I'm not sure if it's because I've read some terrible books in this genre over the last few years, but I found this book unputdownable. Maybe it's because Keyes contemporaries in this genre can't reach her standards; I can think of a few current popular women's lit authors who receive tons of praise, yet in comparison to Marian Keyes I find them pale imitations and contrived. There is a time jump in the book, which at times may seem unclear with its vague chapter names, but towards the end of the book when things start clicking into place, I thought they made sense and it was an original way of presenting each section. As usual with Marian Keyes books there are plenty of twists and turns, some obvious, some not so. Within a few pages I was sucked right, you do feel with her books like the main character is one of your close friends. This is the perfect book to read for intelligent, well written chick lit. You know what you're going to get when it comes to Marian Keyes, her books are like visiting an old friend.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marnie (Enchanted Bibliophile)

    2018 Subjects Specific Reading Challenge I have 30 books with specific subjects that I need to read Book 15: A book by an author with your same initials MK - this sounded easier than it was.... Not a Romance Fan; never was, never will be First Sentence: 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 Karma-Denier. I need to start by saying this was the only author I could come-up with that had the same initials as me. I very rarely 2018 Subjects Specific Reading Challenge I have 30 books with specific subjects that I need to read Book 15: A book by an author with your same initials MK - this sounded easier than it was.... Not a Romance Fan; never was, never will be First Sentence: 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 Karma-Denier. I need to start by saying this was the only author I could come-up with that had the same initials as me. I very rarely read romance - because I don't like it. I believe that if you are a fan of romance this would be good. But it's not for me - so I will not put all the negative things that went through my mind will reading this one onto paper. All I can think to say that's positive is: Thank goodness it's over

  18. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice

    Stella Sweeney survived a life-threatening illness and (sort of) wrote a self-help book as a result, which sort of led to fame and fortune, but it all came crashing down and now life is totally falling apart. I have loved Marian Keyes' books ever since the first one. "Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married" is what got me through the week of Princess Diana's death, and I snatch up each new book as soon as it's available. This one I pre-ordered as soon as I got the email from amazon. But I have to say I Stella Sweeney survived a life-threatening illness and (sort of) wrote a self-help book as a result, which sort of led to fame and fortune, but it all came crashing down and now life is totally falling apart. I have loved Marian Keyes' books ever since the first one. "Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married" is what got me through the week of Princess Diana's death, and I snatch up each new book as soon as it's available. This one I pre-ordered as soon as I got the email from amazon. But I have to say I was sorely disappointed. Stella is....well....gormless. She seems stuck in a little box of fear and preconceived notions, and nothing changes, not even after nearly losing her life - no new insights, no understanding. All of her actions and reactions seem determined by the people in her life, not by her. And when her ex-husband tells her "she owes him" because after all she wanted a divorce and she has to make it up to him - she AGREES! ARG! It seems as though she learns nothing, changes nothing. OK, it all comes out OK in the end - she ends up with the gorgeous doctor - but I felt that it was more because the writer had come to the end of the allotted pages. The characters are really hard to believe in, the story construction is awkward, to say the least. I'm so sorry....what happened here?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    I will start off this review by stating - I heart Marian Keyes novels. In the beginning I enjoyed them because they made me laugh; out loud, they made me weep with laughter, and they usually had hilarious dialogue. In the past few years her style has changed somewhat, rather than going for the big laugh I find that Keyes is more about developing a character and taking them on a journey of personal growth. And that's why I continue to enjoy her books. In this case I liked very much how the book was I will start off this review by stating - I heart Marian Keyes novels. In the beginning I enjoyed them because they made me laugh; out loud, they made me weep with laughter, and they usually had hilarious dialogue. In the past few years her style has changed somewhat, rather than going for the big laugh I find that Keyes is more about developing a character and taking them on a journey of personal growth. And that's why I continue to enjoy her books. In this case I liked very much how the book was broken up into different parts - giving us a greater context from which to read from. I thought that Keyes brought her usual magic when dealing with the relationship between mother - son, wife - ex-husband, sisters and even between lovers. It was a "feel good" pick up and "lose yourself in the story" kind of book. Nothing spectacular, but it still had me flipping pages and trying to solve the twist in the plot. An enjoyable read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wee Lassie

    This is a very well written book, which is why I'm giving it such a high mark - however, it was just too depressing for me, I couldn't finish it. This is a very well written book, which is why I'm giving it such a high mark - however, it was just too depressing for me, I couldn't finish it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Natalie TBGWP

    What an amazing book this is. I have to admit I had my reservations about it as I'd read a book similar not long before, but this was truly overwhelming and a book I know I will constantly refer too, recommend and reread. The Woman Who Stole My Life has you hanging on every word. It has you holding your breath in anxiety. It has you making up your own little scenarios and fixating on little clues about what has happened to Stella that is so bad that she's had to leave a glamorous and fantastic li What an amazing book this is. I have to admit I had my reservations about it as I'd read a book similar not long before, but this was truly overwhelming and a book I know I will constantly refer too, recommend and reread. The Woman Who Stole My Life has you hanging on every word. It has you holding your breath in anxiety. It has you making up your own little scenarios and fixating on little clues about what has happened to Stella that is so bad that she's had to leave a glamorous and fantastic life as an author in New York. No really, it's fantastic. I'm not even lying. The plot is riveting, and so thorough in detail and knowledge that you respect author Marian Keyes just that bit more for giving you something to really think about. The fact that I felt I was getting not one, not two, but three books in one should show you how many little things done by her writing skills, and mindset had me utterly engrossed, fascinated and in awe. I was floored by the intensity of some characters and found protagonist Stella and absolute gem. She is hysterical. She has a strong mind and a deep sarcastic wit that has you giggling from the very first page. We actually get to read extracts from Stella's international best selling inspiration book One Blink At A Time, and they are what give this book an edge of brilliance and difference. Her son Jeffrey I loved. A weird, outcast, with a love of yoga and a deep hatred of his parents had me in absolute hysterics. To be fair right, I could write about all the characters in detail and gush about how fabulous this book all day, but I won't. I'll stop here and just say this. This will no doubt be not only my book of 2014, but everybody 's. It's a fast quick witted, tale of misfortune, love, passion, Jaffa cakes, and Karma. I actually love it. I really do.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    4.5 stars! Oh my goodness! I have not laughed so hard in a long time. This book was hilarious. I haven't read Marian Keyes in a long time and I have read most of her books. I think this one by far was her best. God, was it funny. I do have to agree with the other reviewer on Goodreads that the trip to the States just kind of drug the story out. There was absolutely nothing funny and it really added nothing to the story. Unless the author wanted to talk about the stress the tour put upon the char 4.5 stars! Oh my goodness! I have not laughed so hard in a long time. This book was hilarious. I haven't read Marian Keyes in a long time and I have read most of her books. I think this one by far was her best. God, was it funny. I do have to agree with the other reviewer on Goodreads that the trip to the States just kind of drug the story out. There was absolutely nothing funny and it really added nothing to the story. Unless the author wanted to talk about the stress the tour put upon the characters and I seriously think that could have been done in about two or three paragraphs. While Jeremy was a little brat, he did have some pretty good one liners as well. As for that eejit ex-husband Ryan, OMG, what a waste of oxygen that guy was. Talk about wrapped up in your own frivolous silly little life. I seriously can't believe she let him back in. I really did want Stella to get that second book published but I guess all our fairy tales can't tales can't come true. Ha!! Thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for providing me with this free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. This book was highly entertaining and I definitely and highly recommend it!!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    I listened to the audiobook version of this story and I really enjoyed listening. The narration was really good and it added to the story. I will be looking for more books by this author. Recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle_Mck

    Review originally posted on my blog here https://missmichellemck.blogspot.com.... The Woman who Stole my Life is a novel by one of my favourite Irish authors Marian Keyes, the thing is though, I really haven't read much Marian in the past 5 or so years... Why? I don't know.... I have read the Walsh series of books but I seem to have been distracted by other authors and just wasn't compelled to pick it up. Truth be told, I picked this book up about 6 months ago through Audible, I listened to the f Review originally posted on my blog here https://missmichellemck.blogspot.com.... The Woman who Stole my Life is a novel by one of my favourite Irish authors Marian Keyes, the thing is though, I really haven't read much Marian in the past 5 or so years... Why? I don't know.... I have read the Walsh series of books but I seem to have been distracted by other authors and just wasn't compelled to pick it up. Truth be told, I picked this book up about 6 months ago through Audible, I listened to the first 4 chapters and I just wasn't getting into it, and I stopped listening. Fast forward in time to last week, I had just finished my previous Audio book and I didn't know what to pick up next and the only other unread item was The Luminaries and I am just not ready to go back there yet, so Marian it was. The story is about Stella Sweeney, she is a mother, wife and a beauty therapist who seems happy with her life. She spends her life chasing after everyone else in her life until tragedy strikes and she becomes gravely ill with a rare condition. The book moves through time quite a bit, you are either in present day or the past, you don't chop around in the past it is a straight line back to the current day as the flash backs work. You see through the flashbacks that after Stella's recovery her life changes quite drastically, but to be honest it takes such a long time to get to the juicy bit I was starting to get a bit tired of Stella. For me she was a difficult character to warm too, I don't know what it was but she was just a bit odd and not in a great way. Maddox her doctor is an interesting character and for a while it feels like you are really going to get into something there but then he becomes quite predictable. Her husband, don't even get me started on him... Sheesh. In saying all of this, once I got into it, I can't complain, it was a book I listened to while I was doing other things and I didn't lose anything from it from not being completely focussed on the book. What makes the book for me are the last 3 chapters, Marian got me back there and she got me good, I loved the last part of the book and it made it worthwhile, overall I gave this book 4 stars and I will go back and read the books I have missed over the next year or so. Now to find a new audio book, and I am still not ready to go back to the Luminaries.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Book-shelf Shelf

    And she is back...please all welcome back the fantastic author back on her rightful stage! I had heard a few whispered review that are not favorable to this new book, but i have to hugely disagree. This story is a little hard to get into, but when you so, it keeps you hook line and pages. The descriptions of lives, loves and living inside her own body is simply brilliant. Stella is a woman who has a normal life, but it changes fast. I loved her character and i'm not sure if its due to her lovelin And she is back...please all welcome back the fantastic author back on her rightful stage! I had heard a few whispered review that are not favorable to this new book, but i have to hugely disagree. This story is a little hard to get into, but when you so, it keeps you hook line and pages. The descriptions of lives, loves and living inside her own body is simply brilliant. Stella is a woman who has a normal life, but it changes fast. I loved her character and i'm not sure if its due to her loveliness or the way her mind is shown. Which ever it is, i am certainly glad i didn't listen to the bad words and i stepped into her world for a while.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Patterson

    Marian Keyes seems as lost as her characters in this book. Stella Sweeney, the protagonist, does not make sense. She is married to a horrible man and her 17-year-old son is a nightmare. I cannot believe any woman would tolerate their disgusting behaviour. Then she is paralysed by a rare neurological condition and can only 'speak' by blinking. Her neurologist takes an interest in her, jotting down her pieces of wisdom. When she gets better, her marriage dissolves, she has a '50 Shades of Grey' affa Marian Keyes seems as lost as her characters in this book. Stella Sweeney, the protagonist, does not make sense. She is married to a horrible man and her 17-year-old son is a nightmare. I cannot believe any woman would tolerate their disgusting behaviour. Then she is paralysed by a rare neurological condition and can only 'speak' by blinking. Her neurologist takes an interest in her, jotting down her pieces of wisdom. When she gets better, her marriage dissolves, she has a '50 Shades of Grey' affair with the neurologist, becomes a potentially best-selling author, goes to America, fails, and returns to Ireland. I am not sure what to make of this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I love Marion Keyes - she always manages to blend drama, humour and real people so brilliantly - chick lit at it's best! Stella is the main character telling us about her life - after developing Guillain–Barré syndrome and spending a year paralysed in hospital she writes a book and her life spins off into lots of different directions. I found it very funny and warming - the only irritation was some of the characters were a bit extreme at times. I love Stella the best! I love Marion Keyes - she always manages to blend drama, humour and real people so brilliantly - chick lit at it's best! Stella is the main character telling us about her life - after developing Guillain–Barré syndrome and spending a year paralysed in hospital she writes a book and her life spins off into lots of different directions. I found it very funny and warming - the only irritation was some of the characters were a bit extreme at times. I love Stella the best!

  28. 5 out of 5

    DJ

    A fairly standard format Marian Keyes novel - fun, funny and witty whilst also being a little bit emotional and moving.

  29. 4 out of 5

    ALPHAreader

    ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’ was the 2014 contemporary novel from bestselling Irish author, Marian Keyes. Keyes has been a prolific, bestselling author since her 1995 debut – but I’d never read anything of hers before ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’. I went in not knowing much (that blurb is really quite bare), but I’d been hearing a lot about this book since 2014 so was moved to give her a try. What the blurb leaves out (one of the many things) is that this is story within a story, sort of – spl ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’ was the 2014 contemporary novel from bestselling Irish author, Marian Keyes. Keyes has been a prolific, bestselling author since her 1995 debut – but I’d never read anything of hers before ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’. I went in not knowing much (that blurb is really quite bare), but I’d been hearing a lot about this book since 2014 so was moved to give her a try. What the blurb leaves out (one of the many things) is that this is story within a story, sort of – spliced between protagonist Stella Sweeney’s current life predicament, trying (unsuccessfully) to write a follow-up to her bestselling book, having moved home from New York with her tail between her legs after a humiliating event she’d rather not discuss … then we’re privy to small extracts from her book, titled ‘One Blink at a Time’ and the real-life catastrophe that prompted its being written. Because not so long ago Stella – once happily married with two older children – woke up one day dead tired, with tingling in her extremities. Next thing she knew, she’s being rushed to hospital as her body slowly starts shutting down … because Stella has a one-in-a-million disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome, a nerve inflammation that sees her entire body shutting down and effectively keeping her entombed and unable to move. Stella recounts her time in ICU, only able to blink her eyes (left/right for yes/no) as her form of communication. Her family barely keep it together; her son Jeffrey becomes increasingly angry for her being sick, her daughter Betsy becomes Biblical and her husband Ryan just seems hopeless. The one bright spot in her day become neurologist (and someone Stella’s previously been in a car accident with) a doctor called Mannix Taylor, who devises a system of communication with her through blinks. So, that’s the basic premise – how a beautician from Dublin found herself with a one in a million syndrome that kept her a prisoner in her own body, went on to become an author sensation, writing about her ordeal and recovery … and then lost it all and found herself divorced, and living back in Dublin. I initially found a lot of Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty to Keyes’ story – not so much in tone or style, but substance (and, yes, the obvious comparison is to Moyes’s ‘Me Before You’ about a quadriplegic – but they’re really vastly different). Rather, I found connection in how Moyes, Moriarty and Keyes all seem to start with this premise of “what would you do?” It’s what grounds even their more outlandish storylines – by having them happen to thoroughly ordinary, relatable women that prompts the reader to wonder, “what would I do in that situation?” But ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’ is a 531-page book, and by the midway point I found myself looking around for … substance. By that point in a Moyes or Moriarty book, usually, all cards were being laid on the table and an ominous tumbling towards ending would be underway. Not so with Keyes and this book – by the midway point I was keeping my fingers crossed for more meat and angst, more oomph to the story which to that point had been careening along nicely and keeping me enthralled. But it was also a bit too cutesy. I kept waiting for Stella to really hit her lowest-lows, but it never felt like she quite got there. The Guillain-Barrè syndrome was awful, to be sure, but once I realised it wasn’t the whole basis of the story – that there was supposedly more heartbreak in store for Stella – I kept waiting for it to hit, but it never did for me. Fair warning though: the woman of the title (who steals Stella's life) doesn't really make an appearance until the last third or so of the novel, and is only alluded to before then ... which felt underwhelming and threw the pacing off a little bit for me. There’s romance here too, but it doesn’t have the edges and depth I was hoping for either. Again – it was cutesy. And I even found myself more interested in how Stella’s (then) husband was coping with her being in ICU, partly because it was funny, but also because it hit more closely to that “what would you do?” launching off point; Her face cleared, then she looked almost angry. ‘You fancy him.’ I don’t. ‘You’d better not,’ she said. ‘You’ve got a good husband, who’s killing himself to keep everything going. You know he went out to buy tampons for Betsy?’ Christ. Would I never hear the end of how Ryan had gone out to buy tampons for Betsy? It had become like a tale from Irish mythology. Great deeds done by Irish men: Brian Boru fighting the Battle of Clontarf; Padraig Pearse reading the Proclamation of Irish Independence on the steps of the GPO; Ryan Sweeney buying tampons for his daughter, Betsy. I admit; I enjoyed myself while I was reading this (though partly I think because I literally got to halfway through this 531-page book before realising it was veering away from the heft of story I’d been hoping for going in). Keyes’ humour is definitely charming, but I though it sometimes detracted from the real meat of the story and cushioned her opportunities to hit the story a little harder. But that’s obviously Keyes sticking to what her readers expect from one of her books, so I’ll admit this might just be me going in as a newbie. I would read a Marian Keyes book again, with the right “huh, what would I do?” storyline hook – but for the most part I think I’d prefer to stick with my favourites, Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Trish at Between My Lines

    This review was originally posted on Between My Lines 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. 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 enjo This review was originally posted on Between My Lines 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. 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.     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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