One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeny attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life.
For she meets a man who wants her telephone number (for the insurance, it turns out). That's okay she doesn't really like him much anyway (his Range Rover totally banjaxed her car).
But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, and, along the way, wrenching her whole family apart.
Is this all because of one ill-advised act of goodwill? Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or hopping mad?
For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach. But is Stella Sweeny, Dublin housewife ready to grasp it?
Blimey a lot of people are talking about this book, I was a little frightened to start it. I am a massive fan of Marian Keyes so I was shocked to see a fair amount of negativity surrounding this book in the book blogging world. However, the majority of it seemed to be in the formatting of the proof. It was a little messy and I could see why people got annoyed but I didn't think it was the worst proof copy I have ever read. The formatting paled into insignificance for me though as overall I thought that this book was tremendous.
The main reason I love Marian Keyes is that she writes about real issues, she doesn't sugar-coat and she shows that not every story has to have a happy ending. It doesn't have to have an awful ending just to shock etc but it can have a realistic finale where the main character doesn't get everything they want.
Stella Sweeny is a great character she she is pretty ordinary and then two extraordinary things happen to her; she gets extremely ill but then her illness somehow turns her into a best-selling author travelling the US on several book tours. We meet Stella after all this though when she's down on her luck and back in Dublin. The book then shows exactly how she's got to that point.
A large portion of the first part of the book involves Stella being in hospital and I thought that this was portrayed very well. Marian Keyes showed everything from the sheer terror of being so ill, the boredom of being stuck in hospital and the consequences for the family unit when one person has a debilitating illness.
Stella has a love interest in the book but I don't want to spoil the plot by giving too much away. But I will say that I very much developed a crush on this character as the book progressed and I felt myself getting angry with Stella when she did something that could jeopardise their relationship.
The Woman Who Stole My Life, in my opinion, is a fantastic book. A lot of reviews have said that it is very different to Marian's other books but I can't agree. I felt that it was distinctively Marian Keyes; not in a boring and predictable way but in such a way that you know you are in the safe hands of an excellent author. The book is dark in places but it is realistic and this is balanced out with brilliant humour and wit.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't let the negativity about the formatting put you off as it is just the proof copy and you would be a fool to miss out on the finished product.
Many thanks to Michael Joseph for letting me review this book via Net Galley.