My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes

This is the superstar’s sixteenth novel. Marian Keyes has made her career crafting sociable, witty and sometimes gritty novels about women: the desires of women, the hearts… the hilarious blunders. Her novels offer us all a big warm hug whenever we want one. But they also charmingly remind us that going after what we want, navigating families and correcting mistakes are never straightforward endeavours.

With My Favourite Mistake Keyes brings us another chapter in the lives of the Walsh family, the “big, noisy family full of big personalities” that she first introduced with her debut, Watermelon, and most recently explored with Again, Rachel. This time, we focus on the menopausal, midlife phase of Anna Walsh, Rachel’s younger sister. And Anna has some decisions to make.

It doesn’t take all that much for a little wobble to become a minor crisis. And it doesn’t take that much more for a minor crisis to become a major one. Sometimes, once you’ve reached a certain point in your life, the urge to reinvent yourself can become too strong to ignore… even if you live in New York with a pretty decent partner and have a hectic, glamorous job.

Anna is approaching fifty. She’s had enough of New York and the high-flying PR career she’s forged for herself. It’s difficult to explain completely, but her life is just not doing it for her anymore. And neither is her man. She feels her mistakes piling up and she simply wants out. And so it’s back to Dublin, to be close to family again. To live with her parents.

Back in Ireland without a place of her own and with no clear idea of what the future holds, an intriguing opportunity lands in Anna’s lap courtesy of a couple of old friends. Colm and Brigit have plans to create a high-end resort in the coastal town of Maumtully, and they need somebody to handle the PR… because the locals loathe the idea, to the extent that they’re willing to make their resistance violent, and the whole project is drowning in dirty tricks.

Anna’s not phased though. She worked in PR for the beauty industry. In New York. There’s no blemish she can’t conceal, no tarnish she can’t buff out. There’s no way that coastal Ireland could ever compare to the slick hostility of Manhattan, surely. As she sets about working her magic on the feuds of the present, past issues rear their insistent heads. Joey, a man she once loved. And Jacqui, the best friend she once had. She’s left New York to escape one set of issues, and wandered slapbang into the heartaches that she once considered buried. As an old friendship flares intensely back to life and an old smouldering attraction takes on a new shape, Anna just can’t shake the feeling that she’s about to make the same old mistakes all over again.

Keyes’s newest proves once again that, even though it’s a process fraught with sometimes catastrophic and frequently comical mishaps, it is never too late to fail, to change direction and to grow. My Favourite Mistake is thoroughly real, utterly absorbing and achingly funny… Keyes just keeps delivering treat after treat.


H A P P Y  R E A D I N G