The book cover of This Charming Man is deceiving. I was expecting a breezy summer chick lit novel. What I got was so much more and I was not disappointed. This Charming Man introduces us to three distinct women and shows us how their lives intertwine with one man, and with each other. The man is Paddy de Courney, an Ireland politician with JFK’s good looks. Each chapter alternates between the three women.
The book starts with Lola, a hip stylist who is ceremoniously dumped by Paddy after learning that, even though she is his girlfriend, he is marrying someone else. Heartbroken, Lola takes off to a tiny village to try and forget him. While there, Lola finds herself making some unlikely friendships with a group of cross dressers. She thinks she might even be falling for one of them.
Grace is a journalist who is trying to track down Lola to tell her secrets about Paddy, but Grace is hiding a secret of her own about him and she isn’t about to tell anyone else. Grace has her hands full trying to take care of her relationship with her boyfriend and help her twin sister Marnie, who is slowly falling apart.
Marnie is featured as the third part of this story, which is the most heartbreaking. Marnie is married and the mother of two little girls. She dated Paddy when they were young and in high school. Marnie is also an alcoholic, and her life is spiraling downhill until she hits rock bottom.
Marion Keyes deftly weaves each story until they all come together to a shocking conclusion. This Charming Man tackles tough issues, such as alcoholism and domestic abuse. These are themes that would make for a great book club discussion. The novel doesn’t weigh you down even though it is 576 pages long. Her writing is witty and heartbreaking all at the same time. The sign of a great book for me is when I still think about the characters long after the book is closed, and this is one of those books.