Sunday, 27 April 2008

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

Michael Joseph €25

DEPUTY leader of the NewIreland party and all-round smiler Paddy de Courcy has broken more hearts than he's had hang sangwidges.

Cute stylist Lola Daly wakes up to find that Paddy - her boyfriend, as far as she knew - has suddenly announced that he's about to marry.

But De Courcy isn't marrying Lola - he's marrying horse-faced Alicia (Leechy to her friends) Thornton.

Call after call - he doesn't answer. Until she leaves a message saying journalist Grace Gildea wants to interview her, when he's on like a shot, snarling.

All this is told in Marian Keyes' hilarious telegraph style, and my neighbours probably called the cops as howls of laughter greeted those first chapters.

The middle of the book goes a bit bulgy, as Keyes strays off Lola's narrative and gets serious.

Paddy's evil past is revealed by his alcoholic ex Marnie, her journo sister Grace, and horsy bride-to-be Alicia.

Party leader Dee Thornton's work to save sex slaves gives Paddy the leverage to attempt a putsch.

In Lola's country hideaway she discovers a subterranean world of rural transvestism.

There's a whole lotta lovin' going on.

This Charming Man is witty and fun, yet a departure for Keyes - with an end that is satisfyingly vengeful.

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