Thursday 30 December 2021

Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes #AgainRachel @MarianKeyes @MichaelJBooks #RachelsBack @PenguinUKBooks #BookReview


Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.

But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.

But with the sudden reappearance of a man she'd once loved, her life wobbles.

She'd thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?

Is it time to think again, Rachel?

Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes is published in hardback by Michael Joseph on 17 February 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, along with a fabulous box of goodies! 

Twenty-five years ago, Rachels' Holiday was published and there are millions of us who were overjoyed when we learnt that Marian Keyes had penned the sequel.  Whilst Rachel's Holiday was not the first book about the Walsh family; Watermelon takes that place and was published a couple of years prior to Rachel, there is no doubt that Rachel's Holiday was the book that really made us readers fall for the family.

Again, Rachel is an absolute triumph. It has everything that any Walsh family fan could wish for, and more. It is packed to the rafters with those familiar, hilarious sayings that are uttered by the magnificent Mammy Walsh, yet it will totally break the reader in places. Marian Keyes does not allow her characters to glide through life unscathed ... not at all. 

I cannot tell you what has happened since we left Rachel at the end of Rachel's Holiday, and it's almost impossible to tell you about the events in this new story. Yes, I'm being vague, but it is not for me to spoil the story, you really do need to discover for yourselves. 

I can tell you that Rachel seems to be in a very good place as the story begins; she has a great job as head counsellor at The Cloisters, she is in love, all of her family are around her and she's discovered a love for gardening. Addiction is a thing of the past, except for fancy trainers and a hankering after a Chanel handbag, but who doesn't share those loves?

It's a phone call that turns this story on its head. Readers will have come to some conclusions about things that may have happened in previous years, but that phone call confirms things. One very quick message will go on to make Rachel take stock of her current life, re-evaluate things that have happened in the past, and look very hard at where future Rachel may go. 

I can talk about Rachels 'ducklings'; her client group at The Cloisters. Keyes very cleverly incorporates the lives of those who Rachel helps so very well into this novel. Each of them have their own wonderfully created story, and each of them shines a light on some of the darkest of issues. It's an ingenious way of dealing with social issues that can shatter lives, whilst doing so with the warm and belly-laugh humour that the author is so good at. 

Again, Rachel is a wise and wonderful look at life today. It is incredibly perceptive whilst being so damn funny in places. I wept, I wept more than once. I also laughed so loud, I read out passages to my husband, I was totally and utterly bewitched by the story. It consumed every moment and I turned the final page with a little sob.

Thank you Marian Keyes. Thank you for bringing Rachel and the whole Walsh family back. What an absolute gift this is! 

Both critically acclaimed and commercially unstoppable, Marian’s fourteenth novel Grown Ups went straight to No.1 in hardback and paperback in four global territories: UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards Audiobook of the Year. 

Marian inspired and entertained countless readers, but also the next generation of writers too, as chair of judges for the Comedy Women in Print prize, a sponsor of the Curtis Brown Creative Marian Keyes scholarship, and most recently ran her own hugely popular Instagram Live series, which brought free creative writing courses to thousands of viewers. 
Marian also uses her position to raise some of the most challenging issues of our time, including addiction, immigration, depression, domestic violence and the Repeal the Eighth campaign. 

In addition to her novels, Marian has written two collections of journalism, as well as been the star of the second series of her hit show Between Ourselves aired on BBC Radio 4 at the start of 2021, and based on her bestselling work of nonfiction Making It Up As I Go Along. Marian is based in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.

Twitter @MarianKeyes

Instagram @marian_keyes

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