Today I am delighted to share my review of Secrets of a Happy Marriage with you as part of the release day blog tour!
Bess is hoping to show everyone just how happy her recent marriage is, but behind all the party-planning the cracks are beginning to show. Why is joining a family so difficult?
Jojo, Bess's stepdaughter, has a point to make. Bess is not her mother, and she won't replace the one she's been missing every day for the last two years. And will she ever get the chance to become a mum herself?
Cousin Cari is a fierce career-woman who isn't unnerved by anything - apart from facing the man who left her at the alter, and he's on the guestlist. Her job has been a safe place to hide ever since - but is it time to let love into her life again?
Thanks to laughter, tears and one surprise appearance, the Brannigans might just discover the secrets of a happy marriage . . . But will they find out before it's too late?
Review: When I first picked up this book, I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the size of it, I knew it was going to be something epic at over 500 pages, what I got was a saga, but not just any saga, a very modern family saga completely relevant to the issues we all face today and completely absorbing.
This book is extremely character driven and as such is fairly character heavy. I have to admit that, at first, I struggled a little bit with who was who in the family and how each person was connected. But when I stopped thinking about it and just let myself absorb all the characters individually, my reading began to speed up and I was drawn into their world. Not all of the characters are likeable but all have their own storylines, all of which are very compelling. I think that character that I identified most with, and therefore enjoyed reading about the most was Cari. I loved the way she handled everything that was thrown at her and I loved her development over the course of the book.
This book also has older characters, so there really is something for everyone. Edward is celebrating his 70th birthday and so we have a whole storyline with him and his wife and their marriage. We also explore the lives of his children, Jojo and Paul who both have very very different lives. Then there are his two brother, Mick and Kit, their wives and their daughters, again leading very different lives from each other, and finally we have the mystery sister, the one who left and never came back. I really enjoyed reading her storyline, and found the way that she wove into the whole book very interesting indeed!
The book is mainly set in Ireland, but there are also sections which take place in San Francisco, New York and London. This gave the book a whole added layer of depth. It meant that we see characters outside their comfort zone and also explore the idea of what it means to go home. Of course the whole premise behind the book, the secrets to a happy marriage is also hugely fascinating and everyone will take something completely different from this meaning, as all the characters in this book do too. Each chapter begins with either a quote or a secret to a happy marriage, which I enjoyed immensely, particularly the Gloria Steinem quote!
Overall I really think that this book is worth putting in the time. This is the second Cathy Kelly book I have read, and the first I didn't listen to as an audio book. The storyline is completely relatable and definitely very relevant for modern relationships, romance and way of life. There is great character development and it was a very enjoyable read!
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