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The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes (thoughts)

March 22, 2012

From the author’s website:
Welcome to 66 Star Street…
In the top floor flat lives music exec Katie. She spends her days fighting off has-been rock stars and wondering how much cheesecake you’d need to eat yourself to death.
Below her, a pair of muscular Poles share with a streetwise cabbie named Lydia who has a sharp tongue, an even sharper brain but some unexpected soft spots.
On the first floor is Fionn – the gardener who prefers the company of parsnips to people. But he looks like a fairy-tale prince and when he’s offered his own television show, he’s suddenly thrust into the limelight.
And at the bottom of the house live Matt and Maeve, who are Very Much In Love and who stave off despair by doing random acts of kindness.
But a mysterious visitor has just landed at 66 Star Street and big changes are on the way. Old secrets are working their way to the surface, bringing love, tragedy and an unexpected optimism. And life will be different for everyone…

I love Marian Keyes. If I had to make a list of my top 5 authors, Marian Keyes would be firmly in there. I was first introduced to Ms Keyes 3 1/2 years ago, in my pre-blogging days, when I was reading primarily chick lit. Okay, not primarily. Only chick lit. And I was craving something with a little less fluff and a little more meat to it. A friend passed along Watermelon and it was like a breath of fresh Irish air. I loved it. And since then I’ve been fighting the urge to gobble up all her books at once and instead am leisurely making my way through them.

All this to say that a) The Brightest Star in the Sky had been sitting on my shelf for some time and b) I had very high hopes for it.

The Brightest Star in the Sky is a lot different from her other books. She’s done others with multiple points of view, but this had the largest cast of characters by far. I had a bit of trouble getting into it at first, partly because I was having trouble keeping everyone straight. And to be honest, the first bit felt a lot like a Maeve Binchy novel, with so many characters going about their separate lives, and the reader just waiting to see how they’re going to overlap and who’s going to fall in love with whom. Which is fine, I like a Maeve Binchy book now and then. But I had been looking forward to a Marian Keyes book. Thankfully about halfway through Keyes let her true colours show, and oh dear did the story turn around. In a good way.

After the initial mishmash of personalities, the main characters really came into their own. Even the secondary characters had distinct personalities. I don’t think I could pick a favourite character or story line, but I really liked that each was very different – some lighter and some heavier – but all were compelling. I can say, though, that Katie is the kind of music industry employee that I fear becoming – the kind that hears so much music in her work life that she actively avoids it in her personal life. *shudder* I would like to remain All Music All The Time, please and thank you.

As for the ‘mysterious visitor’, the narrator of the story? That remained weird, right to the end. If anything, it just got weirder at the end. Fortunately the other characters and story lines made up for any oddness that element of the story created.

Now I only have one of Keyes’ fiction novels left (Last Chance Saloon) and that thought makes me a little panicky. BUT! I just heard recently that she has a new novel coming out in the next year or so – the 5th (and I’m assuming last) book in the Walsh sisters series. YAY!

My rating: 8/10

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2012 8:07 pm

    I went through a crazy Keyes love faze quite a few years back and read a whole heap in quick succession. Anybody out there? is still my standout favourite. But more recently I read This Charming Man and I wasn’t so impressed so I thought my Keyes reading days were over. But I think your review has given me courage to try this one and funnily enough it is on my book shelf (I spotted it second hand and grabbed it just in case) so it looks like it’s going to move into my TBR pile :)

    • March 23, 2012 9:54 am

      Anybody Out There? is by far my favourite, too. I’ve actually been thinking of rereading it this year. But – I also really liked This Charming Man. The only Keyes book I’ve had trouble with is Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married. I just could not get in to it and the main character drove me nuts. Usually I just pretend that one doesn’t exist ;)

      I hope you like Brightest Star!

  2. March 28, 2012 7:43 pm

    Great review! This is one that caught my eye at the store even though I have never read Marian Keyes before. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it, it will probably be on my shelf in a close future.

    • March 28, 2012 9:11 pm

      It wasn’t my favourite of hers, but it was still really very good.

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