Ever since I read Watermelon years and years ago, I have loved Marian Keyes’s writing. I was thrilled to go and see Marian in Nottingham some months ago and hear her speak about her life and writing too. So, when The Break was made available on Netgalley I broke my self-imposed ban (because I have more books than I can ever read) and requested it. I was delighted to be approved.
The Break was published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House, on 7th September 2017 and is available for purchase through the publisher links here.
Amy’s husband Hugh has run away to ‘find himself’. But will he ever come back?
‘Myself and Hugh . . . We’re taking a break.’
‘A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?’
Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her.
He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in South East Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.
Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . .
However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge.
For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman?
Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then so is she . . .
The Break is a story about the choices we make and how those choices help to make us. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best.
My Review of The Break
After two bereavements Hugh needs time to find himself again, but Amy might actually be the one needing to do so too.
I’m going to be totally honest and say that when I began The Break I was disappointed. For the first few pages it felt as if I was reading more about Marian Keyes’ own family than about Amy and Hugh and I kept thinking ‘Oh. I know why that is in there…’ and it felt as if too many characters were introduced in one go with too much description of clothing!
However, it was no time at all that I was completely swept up in the story and all my reservations had been abandoned as I became absorbed in exactly the kind of book I was expecting and wanting. From that shaky early point onwards I loved, loved, loved The Break. And those who know me will know that I must have enjoyed it as I spent quite a bit of the latter part of the story in tears – I adore an emotional read. I was relieved the chapters are so short as I found I needed a little ‘break’ of my own at times. They serve to make The Break fast paced so that it’s easy to get drawn in to reading just one more chapter! There’s also a deft touch of lightness with some very witty one liners and laugh aloud moments alongside the more emotional passages so that The Break feels perfectly balanced.
Along with her trademark ‘Irishness’, Marian Keyes always produces human, flawed characters that evoke a strong response in me as a reader and every person in The Break was as vivid as anyone I’ve met in real life. I hated Hugh to start with because of his effect on Amy, yet by the end of the book my attitude towards him had changed completely. As Amy’s personality is gradually revealed so Marian Keyes examines what love really is, what makes a marriage and how we are consumed by guilt, fear, hope and devotion to become rounded and fulfilled people. This is such skilled writing.
And it was the themes that I found so absorbing. The Break makes the reader consider what constitutes fidelity and betrayal, what makes a family and friendship so that as well as being an interesting story, there’s much to think about. There are some serious political topics covered too, although I don’t want to spoil the story by saying too much.
After a slow start when I wasn’t sure, I really, really enjoyed The Break. Reading it was a bit like running a bath with too hot water. Once I’d got the temperature right I sank in and wallowed in every glorious moment.
About Marian Keyes
Marian Keyes’ international bestselling novels include Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man and The Woman Who Stole My Life. Three collections of her journalism, Under the Duvet, Further Under the Duvet and Making It Up as I Go Along, are also available from Penguin. Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.