A new Marian Keyes novel is always something to celebrate, and her sixth novel, Angels
, will have you cheering. From the first couple of sentences: "I'd always lived a fairly blameless life. Up until the day I left my husband and ran away to Hollywood, I'd hardly ever put a foot wrong" to the hugely satisfying last page, you're immediately involved in the story of Maggie Walsh's life; of how it went wrong, and then went right again.
The Walshes starred in a previous Keyes novel, the delightful Rachel's Holiday; Maggie is Rachel's older sister, (one of five) and the only one who "never did any of that nasty sleeping around business". Instead she got married to her first boyfriend Paul Garvan and everything was fine, until they suffered a couple of "setbacks". Unable to face sorting out the difficulties, Maggie hightails it to Los Angeles to stay with her old pal Emily. Emily is a script writer, her short film A Perfect Day was a big hit in Ireland, but her working life is a little tougher in the land of sunshine and fat-free Pringles. The two girls, along with a supporting cast of wannabes, scary film studio folk and slacker next door neighbours, get on with sorting out their emotional issues in a stylishly witty, wonderfully warm fashion. Maggie's devilish ex-boyfriend and the commitment phobic Troy add in a delightful frisson of sexual tension.
Marian Keyes observations on the foibles of love and LA are laugh-out-loud funny, but there's a beguiling tenderness there too. By the time you reach the final full stop you'll be sighing with contentment, and just wishing that Marian would get a move on with the next book. --Eithne Farry
Queen of the girlie-girl novel, Irish author Keyes makes her fifth outing-and first to be set in the US-a laugh-out-loud tour through the land of broken hearts and fun shoes. The life catastrophes of Claire and Rachel have been addressed previously (Watermelon, 1998; Rachel's Holiday, 2000), and now it's time for Maggie, the "good one" of the five Irish Walsh girls. Likened to warm, plain yogurt, Maggie has indeed kept to the straight and narrow (although this is in comparison, mind you, to her alcoholic, drug-abusing, man-eating sisters) with a nice job, nice house, and an even nicer husband named Garv. But when Maggie discovers after nine years of marriage that Garv may have been having an affair, she leaves him, going first to her parents' house in Dublin, then to Los Angeles (why not, since she's also just been fired) to stay with best friend Emily. A struggling screenwriter, Emily introduces Maggie to the Hollywood life: actress/model/waitresses (mattresses, for short), phony-baloney double-speak, plastic-surgeried everything, bluish-brown skies, white furniture, and anorexic dogs. Her own life a shambles, Maggie tumbles into Emily's world of friends (yummy indie director Troy, beautiful lesbian Lara), screenwriting (if Emily's newest script doesn't work out, she's back to Dublin), and cocktail parties with "complicated martinis." Maggie falls in love briefly with Troy, then with Lara, but in truth it's really Garv she wants, and it may be that their recent "set-backs" have been caused less by marital malaise than by the two miscarriages Maggie recently had. Will Maggie ever find happiness again? Will she stay in LA? Will Emily really rewrite her screenplay with an all-dog cast? Rest assured, reader, all works out as it should. It's little surprise that all Keyes's novels are released in summer-with their appealing combination of lighthearted humor, high-end shopping, and a little true love. (Kirkus Reviews)
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