‘This Charming Man’ by Marian Keyes: Book Review

I don’t normally do a lot of book reviews, but I normally read a lot. Thought, as recently as last year drew to an end, that perhaps I should start doing reviews of the books I read and do a rating. I’m going to try and do an honest sort of review, not just the ones that add twinkle to a title. So here goes the first of many reviews to come. I will also rate a book out of 5, 5 being a perfect read. So here goes.

Truth be told, I don’t read books when they are trending in order to lower mass influence on how I find the book. I tend to read the blurb’s of books whose cover pique my interest, and if the blurb adds to that pique then I read the book.

I was a Marian Keyes virgin before reading ‘This Charming Man’ by the adored writer. I liked the cover, picked up the book, read the blurb, all in a book exchange store. It sounded interesting, hence grabbed the copy.

How did I find the book?

Story: it was interesting to read that the story though linear, was broken up between 4 female characters’ POVs and revolved around a periphery male character’s deeds. All these females somehow end up with their lives impacted by the one man. A violent ex-lover to a couple, an ex-friend/rival to others. The gist of the story is that events that occur in these women’s lives somehow orbits this one destructive yet charming man, whom I’m surprised to say we only see the surface of, even though he is the one that propels the story forward. It has scandal, affairs, love and lust for power, and the awkward situations that can take place.

Structure: the book is written in 4 characters, Lola, Grace, Marnie and Alison POVs as chapters I guess. A jilted naive stylist dumped by her ‘loving’ boyfriend; a friend from a past who knows too much to care and carries hatred; an teenage fling who is still hung up despite having a husband and kids; and a fiancé who used to know the other two. I didn’t mind the split, but what I minded was that certain characters reveled in first person while others used the third person. One character’s chapter was so tediously slanged that some things might have been lost in translation, not to mention ill finished dialogue structure to support said slang, which really made me feel like I wanted to take my red pen and add the missing words.

Alas, the story begins to feel a little stagnated toward the second half, especially with Marnie as all her chapters soon after the middle, and till the end read almost the same – no change in scenery there.

Ending: the ending was long time coming but when it did, it was so swift and done so well that the moment lingered even when the book was finished.

Rating: 4/5

Recommendation: if you love reading an unapologetic chick lit that doesn’t try and shine romance, then this is one you’d love to read.

My next read: ‘Becoming Scarlet’ by Ciara Geraghty. A fabulous female Irish writer whose book ‘Saving Grace’ was an easy, humorous read one could easily fall in love with.


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