The Woman Who Stole My Life is Marian Keyes’ latest housebrick of a novel. I’ve read and enjoyed all of her novels, but did not connect with this story as well as I have with others.
This story starts with the heroine, Stella, a married mother of two falling ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition which causes her to be completely paralysed and only able to communicate by blinking.
Stella’s neurologist, Mannix, devises a way to communicate with her and writes down everything she says (in blinks), which include a number of pithy and inspirational sayings. Mannix, who has a six-pack and is married to a model, falls in love with Stella (!) and removes himself from her case, but arranges to have Stella’s sayings published for her by a Vanity Press. When Stella recovers, a celebrity is seen reading her book and all at once she is a best selling author, has left her husband and is living with Mannix in New York after he gave up his career and his wife to become Stella’s manager. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
While I love Marian Keyes style and voice, the plot of this book was too over-the-top, even for me. I wasn’t all that mad about the characters either. Stella didn’t have a great deal of substance, her husband loved himself to bits, her son was a pain in the proverbial and Mannix was too good to be true. I just couldn’t believe in their romance.
What I did enjoy was reading about was the behind the scenes stuff about publishing. The wheeling and dealing was intense and the travelling and promoting of the book was gruelling. When Stella’s book failed to sell as well as expected, she was dumped in about three seconds flat. I had a far more romantic view of publishing before reading The Woman Who Stole My Life.
I’ll definitely read Marian Keyes’ next offering but would recommend other of her books over this one.