I’ve long been a fan of Marian Keyes (and stalk her on Twitter frequently – especially during the Strictly season!) When I saw another of my ‘close personal friends’ (actually just someone else I follow religiously on social media who I’m never likely to meet IRL), Giovanna Fletcher, rave about Marian’s newest book, I wondered if it was available on NetGalley to get a sneak preview – and joy of joys it was!
Here’s the blurb:
“They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.
Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.
Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .
Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.
In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?”
Initially I was a bit confused – there are a LOT of family members and you’re introduced to them all in one go at a family party where Cara starts spilling out family secrets! The book then goes back in time so that you can see the build up to some of these secrets happen.
It didn’t take long to get the gist of who was who – and that really helped.
I could empathise a lot with Jessie (bossy, organiser type) and Cara (disordered relationship with food) and really liked how the characters were fleshed out – with their good bits and bad bits all wrapped up – just like in real life!
Two of the brothers were fundamentally lovely – although with their own foibles – and one was a knob! (And not just because I suspect he would have posted all of his cycle rides on social media)
The book twists and turns through all of the extended families lives – with them all coming together at various family celebrations. I loved the descriptions of the holiday in Tuscany – and given we’re staying just outside Lucca in the summer, I’m looking forward to going to do a big shop at the supermarket on the ringroad #nichereferencepoint.
Whilst it is, essentially, a family saga – it touches on some big issues – grief / mental health / step families / eating disorders / age gap relationships / marital breakdown – but all wrapped up in normal life, as they are for many of us. I love Marian’s turn of phrase – and the book had me laughing and crying.
I felt like I was an observer into the Casey family for a few months – and felt quite sad at the end that I wouldn’t carry on knowing what they were up to – as if I was losing touch with friends. Given there are so many characters – I wonder if a spin off or follow up would be in order??
Overall this is a definite recommendation when it comes out later this month – pre order it now, you know you want to!!
Thanks NetGalley and the publishers for my ARC – I am always so excited and grateful to be chosen!