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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Marian Keyes.
Firstly, I have to own up to really liking Marian Keyes books. I think I have enjoyed all of them. If you are of the same mind, I really don't think this book is going to disappoint.

We revisit the Walsh family. As families go, they are probably a bit more screwed up and unusual than most but Ms Keyes never strays beyond the believable. This time it's the turn...
Published on 11 Oct 2012 by Caroline P.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Although I managed to stick with it I was disappointed. This is by far my least enjoyable of the Marian Keyes books.
Published 15 months ago by Penny


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Marian Keyes., 11 Oct 2012
By 
Caroline P. (Milton Keynes, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Firstly, I have to own up to really liking Marian Keyes books. I think I have enjoyed all of them. If you are of the same mind, I really don't think this book is going to disappoint.

We revisit the Walsh family. As families go, they are probably a bit more screwed up and unusual than most but Ms Keyes never strays beyond the believable. This time it's the turn of Helen, the youngest. Helen has suffered a severe bout of depression in the past and is well on her way - terrified - into a new bout. In most cases, that would suggest a book that was heavy and gloomy. Yet, as always, Ms Keyes manages to combine a realistic and sensitive understanding of emotional problems with a book which is often laugh-out-loud funny and always quite gripping. I never felt dragged down by it, even while I could empathise with Helen's dread and fear. In any event, the descent into depression is interwoven into the main story, a missing persons case, in a way that doesn't detract from the mystery/thriller feel to this main story. Nor are her personal relationships neglected. You live Helen's life with her and it is a well-rounded and complete-feeling book and in that sense is very satisfying - no part is left sketchy and incomplete.

Recommended.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Vintage Keyes,But I'm So Glad She's Back!, 22 Oct 2012
By 
C. M. Collier "myopia1" (Liverpool,england) - See all my reviews
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I don't think I enjoyed this quite as much as some of her other novels,but considering that Marion Keyes has been suffering from such crippling depression that it was feared she may never write again,she has worked wonders.I really liked the idea of a mystery story for a change,and I must say I could not figure out where Wayne was at all.
I didn't feel there was much chemistry between Helen and her boyfriend,Artie,but I really enjoyed catching up with the Walshes,and I LOL'd when the Laddz were trying on their swan outfits!
I really loved Helen's Shovel List,a list she keeps in her head of people and things she hates so much she would like to hit them in the face with a shovel. I liked the way she brought depression into the story,and hope that it will help anyone who is going through depression to realise that they are not alone.
I did enjoy the book,and would recommend it,and I'm so glad that Marion's back!
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95 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved every second of it, 22 Sep 2012
Marian Keyes has been one of my favourite authors ever since I can remember so seeing one of her books hit the shelves always fills me with excitement. The Mystery of Mercy Close is the fifth and final Walsh sister book, featuring the youngest Walsh sister, Helen. Although I was sure the book would be another fantastic read, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Helen. We already met her in her sisters' books when she was still a teenager - she was the pretty and popular one who was known for her sharp tongue, her sarcasm and brutal honesty. She was hilarious in her own way but for some reason I could never relate to her character as much as I could to some of her sisters'. Which was another reason why I've been so eagerly waiting for this book - I was really intrigued to see how her quirky character would work if she had her `own book' and to see how much she's changed throughout the years. As it turns out, she has changed a lot. So much so that a few chapters in she became my favourite Walsh sister and The Mystery of Mercy Close turned out to be my favourite book from the series.

I loved this story for so many different reasons. Helen is a great narrator - she's sarcastic, she doesn't care what people think about her, but she's witty and more importantly, very entertaining. The book itself is quite fast paced - a lot faster than any of the previous four books were - and there's literally not one dull moment. Keyes has never written mysteries or anything like this before but she pulled it off perfectly. She kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish and I literally couldn't tell what was going to happen next. As a huge mystery/crime fan I loved the fact that I kept guessing almost till the end and even though I had at least three different solutions for Wayne's disappearance, none of them were right. (It all starts to make sense towards the last ninety pages or so, and once you figure out what the title - which is another brilliant touch - refers to you've figured out where Wayne is but even then, you just can't predict how it's all going to end.)

On top of these countless twists and turns, another thing that makes The Mystery of Mercy Close so unique is the fact that there are basically two completely different stories within the book. On the one hand, there's the investigation and the whole Laddz business but on the other hand, there's Helen's own story, her battle with depression and everything she's been through in the past. Since Keyes herself has been diagnosed with depression back in 2009 and the book was written in the following years, Helen's take on this issue is frighteningly real. The way she describes how desperate, helpless and afraid she felt, how nothing seemed to help and how she got to the point where she even had a suicide kit is both heartbreaking and beautifully written. Keyes went through the exact same things (including going into psychiatric hospital and even having the suicide kit) and describes them in such detail, with such honesty that I was moved to tears several times throughout the story. But at the same time, the book has quite an optimistic message as well: Helen's story is proof that things do get better eventually. You might not be the same person as you were before but you will get better and this, just like everything else, will pass.

If I had to sum this book up in five words, I'd say it was worth the wait. I know I won't be able to do it justice no matter how much longer I carry on but I really hope you'll pick it up. Don't worry if you haven't read the previous four books, there are no major spoilers and it doesn't really matter what order you read them in. The Mystery of Mercy Close is a marvellous page-turner with a hilariously funny narrator and a fantastic plot which will definitely stay with you for a long time. I loved every second of it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!,, 11 Oct 2012
I listened to this as an audible book while running. What a great motive to get running every morning. I love the Walsh sisters books and think they are best. So funny yet poignant too. Read the Mammy Walsh book before it to remind me about the other family members, hilarious.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back MK, 22 Jan 2014
I was almost put off by various reviews from reading this but I am so glad I decided to trust my own judgement!

I have read pretty much everything by Ms Keyes, and although chic lit is not really my thing any more I've always found her to be the thinking woman's chic-litter, along with JoJo Moyes' more recent stuff (as if I knew about thinking!).

In fact I WAS a bit disappointed with The Brightest Star in the Sky but this, for me, was a really pleasing return to form. I am not a great detective story fan, but it seems to me that the private investigation bit was written firmly tongue in cheek, and all the better for it. And yet again, alongside laugh out loud moments, her trademark wonderful dialogue and the stupendous Mammy Walsh pottering around in the background, there is a heartbreakingly serious kernel treated sensitively and of course with inside knowledge.

This is indeed a little bit different from her usual character-rich, plot light style (still character rich, but a bit more plot this time) but that to me just proves how versatile this writer is.

Stay well Marian (no pressure!!) I am really looking forward to the next one ....Kate maybe? Or how about giving Mammy and Daddy Walsh a book all of their own....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 July 2013
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Although I managed to stick with it I was disappointed. This is by far my least enjoyable of the Marian Keyes books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring Guff, 12 May 2013
So very disappointed in this book! It was almost like Marian had been given a journal and told to fill it with the thoughts she felt during her depression. I feel a bit guilty saying this, as I've so enjoyed most of her previous books. Except the last one and this one. The characters were one-dimensional, except for beloved "Mammy Walsh", there was no plot to speak of, the ending obvious, and I couldn't quite believe that I was reading a Marian Keyes novel.

Task One......fill the pages with depressive and suicidal thoughts, let it all hang out!
Task Two......inject a bit of humour to alleviate the gloom.
Task Three...insert previous well-loved characters from previous novels....I know...the Walsh family, they're always good for a laugh!
And sadly, previously, they were. But even they disappeared beneath this gloom-laden tome.

One of the salient points made in this novel was that depression changes you for ever. And so it does as I well know. This novel seems to have been written while Marian was experiencing depression and perhaps it would have been wise to keep these musings between herself and her therapist.

Don't waste your money. Sadly, this book is not worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marian Keyes is a great writer. Full stop., 29 Dec 2013
Someone reviewed this book by saying: "Not Keyes at her best". I disagree. It's not a criticism of the reviewer - just an observation. I don't think a story is a recipe with defined ingredients. This is Helen's story and she tells it with painful honesty. How brave. What more can anyone ask? I listened to her voice. She's in trouble - as lots of people are - every moment, every day.

Helen's story amused and entertained me, terrified and moved me. I wanted to reach out and speak to her. I recognised the isolation and courage of a functioning depressive - and the fragility of life, which can hang by a hair. She's flawed, funny, complex, courageous and wonderful. The author is a conduit and I think I glimpsed a little of Marian's struggle too. You don't have to experience the same things as the characters you write about - but you do have to understand them. There is profound understanding in this book.

A privilege to read. Thank you Helen. Thank you Marian.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Marian's Best, 6 Dec 2013
By 
Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors. However i'm not so sure if it is a good idea to get to know an author and then try and read their books.

The Mystery of Mercy Close follows the story of the youngest Walsh sister, Helen. Having read all of Marian's other books, all of the other Walsh sisters already have their own book. Helen pops up in them, so you know her, just not intimately. I had been hanging out for Marian to write Helen's story as I LOVED all of her other books involving the Walsh family.

To be honest, i was disappointed. And i really didn't want to be. I don't want to be. It makes me sad that i am because i have absolutely adored all of her other books. One book even helped me to deal with some issues in my own life.

As a stand alone book, it is a great story. It's really enjoyable, good for a laugh and deals with some hard things in life that a lot of people are afraid to talk about. However as the last Walsh sister's book, i felt it fell short. It was good, however i think it could have been AMAZING.

Also i understand that a lot of authors write from their own experiences (not all) however i felt like i was reading Marian's story rather than Helen's. Everything that she had been through in the past couple of years came out in this book (and i know this because i have read her newsletters and i follow her on Twitter). I also felt like the Helen in this book wasn't the same Helen in the other books. I know that the other books were from the other sister's perspectives and Helen wasn't a main character but nothing of what came across in those books, came across in this book. And i know that when you suffer from depression, it alters you, so Helen wouldn't be exactly the same, however it felt too much like Marian and not Helen.

I also felt that even though the book talked a lot about depression, there wasn't as much depth as there is in her other books, which also bring up serious issues such as alcoholism. I cared about what happened to Helen, however i didn't experience any other emotions. In her other books i've loved, hated, screamed at, cried with etc. whereas this one i barely felt a single emotion. My husband pointed out that maybe she wrote it that way on purpose because depression doesn't necessarily mean you are sad. Like in the book, to some it feels like you are in a constant out of body experience, detached from yourself and everyone around you. I don't know.

I feel that if the main character in this book was not a Walsh sister, especially the last Walsh sister, i wouldn't have minded so much. I've just been anticipating Helen's story for so long that to have it fall short, well it is a great disappointment.

There was also a little bit of sex in the book. It wasn't too explicit, except for one scene, which made me really uncomfortable. It was so out of the blue. And then it ended and there was nothing like it again. It was almost as if the book was written and then the publishers said, "There's no proper sex scene in it. People want sex. Write in a sex scene." It didn't flow at all. Now, i don't enjoy reading books with sex in them, however i feel that someone who didn't care would agree with me that it seemed a bit disjointed.

Even though i don't feel as a stand alone book, this is her best, it is still enjoyable. And if this is the first book your read by Marian Keyes, and you find it's not a great book, give her another chance and read one of her older books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Utterly depressing - not the Marian Keyes we know and love, 26 Dec 2012
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As the main character battles with depression, the readers ask themselves whether this is the Marian Keyes that we know - uplifting, humorous and insightful. Unfortunately this book is none of those things although the author succeeds in portraying the torment of a depressed person. I would not recommend as a light-hearted read and there are better books if one is in the mood for more serious literature. I have found the book quite depressing and would not recommend it.
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