Synopsis from Goodreads: Ireland's debonair politician Paddy de Courcy -- the "John F. Kennedy Jr. of Dublin" -- has captured tabloid headlines and the imagination of his country with his charm and charisma. But the crushed hearts he's left behind him reveal more about his character than his winning, vote-getting smile. Lola, Grace, Marnie, and Alicia have all suffered from his selfishness and cruelty. But with Paddy's political star ascending, the time is finally ripe for redemption...and perhaps a bit of revenge.
Stats for my copy: Trade paperback, Avon, 2010.
How acquired: Received from another Bookcrossing member.
My thoughts: Between chapters were little snippets of narration describing a domestic abuse scene, but without providing any names, and each one filled me with a sense of dread and foreboding, wondering which of the women whose stories are contained in the book was the woman being abused.
Four women, all with some connection to golden boy politician Paddy de Courcy. The narration switches around between the women's viewpoints. We start with Lola, whose connection is obvious – she was romantically involved with him until she learned, via the news, that he was engaged to Alicia. While I liked Lola's story, I did not like her narration. Told in first person POV, diary format, it put me in mind of Bridget Jones, but not in a good way. Short, choppy sentences, not only in her narrative, but even when she is quoting conversations. I know the characters did not actually speak the way she depicted it, but at times it was agonizing to read.
“What you like to do?” he asked. “You hungry?”
“No, not really. Is a bit early.”
There was a scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when a certain beer was turning frat boys into Neanderthals, and Buffy got drunk with them, and they all grunted and talked like cave men. And after awhile in my head I was picturing Lola and her friends as grunting Neanderthal cavemen people.
Lola mentions a journalist, Grace, who keeps calling her, wanting to interview her about Paddy's surprise engagement. And Grace is who we meet next. Her chapters are also told in first person POV, but not diary style, and I very much enjoyed her story. There are hints of a connection to Paddy but we don't know what that connection is. Grace has a live in boyfriend, Damien, who I very much liked.
Then we meet Marnie, Grace's twin sister. Her chapters are told in third person point of view. Marnie is a mystery. Depressed, withdrawn, she seems to be just existing without really living. Marnie's story is the most unpredictable. You think you know where she's coming from, what's going on with her, and then you learn something that changes that thinking. I felt sorry for her, while slightly despising her for being weak and malleable.
We also get a bit of time with Alicia, but compared to the other girls her sections make up maybe ten percent of the book.
Ms. Keyes definitely does a great job of creating characters who stand out from each other, with their own distinct personalities. I've heard her described as a chick lit author, and while she does fit that category somewhat, she also touches on serious subjects. In addition to the domestic abuse I mentioned earlier, we get alcoholism and a very touching storyline about cross-dressers. Throw in some revenge, heartbreaking confessions, a new love for one of the girls, and another's relationship almost being lost, and (once you make yourself barrel through Lola's frustrating narration style) this was an enjoyable and satisfying read.