Monday 15 April 2024

My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes #MyFavouriteMistake @MarianKeyes @MichaelJBooks #BookReview


Anna has just lost her taste for the Big Apple…

She has a life to envy. An apartment in New York. A well-meaning (too well-meaning?) partner. And a high-flying job in beauty PR. Who wouldn’t want all that?

Anna, it turns out.

Trading a minor midlife crisis for a major life event, she switches the skyscrapers of Manhattan for the tiny Irish town of Maumtully (population 1,217), helping old friends Brigit and Colm set up a luxury coastal retreat.

Tougher than it sounds. Newflash: the locals hate the idea. So much so, there have been threats – and violence.

Anna, however, worked in the beauty industry. There’s no ugliness she hasn’t seen. No wrinkle she can’t smooth over.

There’s just one fly in the ointment – old flame Joey Armstrong.

He’s going to be her wingman.

Never mind their chequered history. Never mind what might have been.

Because no matter how far you go, your mistakes will still be waiting for you . . .

My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes was published on 11 April 2024 by Michael Joseph. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I cannot lie. I ADORE Marian Keyes, I've been reading her books since the beginning, all of those years ago. I love her writing, I love her social media presence, I even bought her cake book and baked a lavender cheesecake! 

I was delighted to receive my copy of My Favourite Mistake and despite my paperback proof having 600 pages I flew through it in three evenings. I was transfixed and even though it's been a long time since I last read about Anna Walsh, this fabulous author cleverly incorporates enough of her back story to ease the reader back into her world. 

Anna has a wonderful job in New York, she works in Beauty PR where she has access to as many serums, creams, lotions and potions as she desires. She lives with her boyfriend Angelo, described as a 'Feathery Stroker', because he is kind and considerate and caring. Anna bears the scars of the car accident that killed her husband Aiden all those years ago, and it took quite a few years for her to allow herself to find love again. However, it's the middle of the pandemic and she and Angelo are spending every single day together and it's tough. In a moment of madness, or extreme clarity Anna decides her New York life is done. She's going to resign from her job, split up with Angelo and move back to Ireland.

And she does reader, she does! After a couple of months of bunking down with her sister Margaret and applying for jobs, she's offered the chance to work with her sister's friend Brigit in Maumtully, a tiny town in the country. Brigit and her husband Colm are opening a retreat on the outskirts of the town and the locals are not happy. It will be Anna's job to pacify them, to smooth things over and understand the problems. The only fly in the ointment is that fact that 'Narky Joey' will be working there too. Anna and Joey have history, a long history, and it's because of him that she hasn't seen her oldest and best friend Jacqui for years. 

What an absolute triumph of a story this is. Not only do we have the wonderful Walsh family back, with their eccentricities and YAY for Mammy Walsh, we also have the residents of Maumtully who are just as beautifully created as Anna's family. My favourite by far is Courtney; a woman who knows everyone in town, who works from morning to night, but hides her own secrets too.

Anna is embraced by the townsfolk, she becomes one of them almost immediately. Dealing with the oddities and the strangeness of the whole town. She and Joey have a lot of re-building to do, they need to discuss things, they need to get things right, but it takes time, and a whole lots of misunderstandings along the way. 

Marian Keyes writes about friendship, love and community. There are some one-liners in this novel that made me howl with laughter. Her observation of Anna's perimenopausal state is so astute, and absolutely bang on, any woman who is going through this, or has been through it will nod in agreement as Anna deals with trying to access her HRT, dealing with symptoms, and also trying to appear confident and in charge. 

I could talk/write for hours about this book. Those tiny observations that are so important. The slow unravelling of various characters and the exposure and deft handling of vulnerabilities which are done with compassion and sensitivity. 

All hail Marian Keyes, the queen of contemporary fiction! Another perfect book from a truly outstanding talent. Highly recommended. 

Marian Keyes is a phenomenon. The multimillion copy, internationally bestselling author of some of the most widely loved, genre-defying novels of the past thirty years – including Rachel’s Holiday, Anybody Out There and Grown Ups – has millions of devoted readers around the world.

In addition to her fifteen previous novels, Marian has also written three collections of journalism, upon which hit BBC Radio 4 show Between Ourselves was based. Marian co-hosts the popular show Now You’re Asking with actress Tara Flynn for BBC Radio 4. In 2022, she was named the British Book Awards Author of the Year.

Marian lives in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin. My Favourite Mistake is her sixteenth novel.

X @MarianKeyes

Instagram @marian_keyes

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