In the past I have been a huge fan of Marian Keyes’ work. Her series centered around the Walsh Family was touching, hilarious, and highly relatable. With this latest offering, however, the characters are horrific people and the plot pretty unbelievable, so I was left rather disappointed in a favorite author.
Stella Sweeney is a forty something year old woman with a typical life: workaholic husband, two surly teenagers, and a stake in a local beauty spa. Until one day, her life instantly changes. Stella becomes completely paralyzed, needing to be hospitalized to even be able to breathe. It’s discovered that Stella has Guillain Barre syndrome, and her recovery will be long, hard, and excruciating.
This is where Dr. Mannix Taylor, Stella’s neurologist, comes in. Handsome, charming, and completely disarming, he and Stella quickly form a connection and a way to communicate–through blinks. While Stella’s family seems to be falling apart without her, she powers through her rehabilitation and becomes close friends with Mannix. Until, when it’s nearly time for her to go home, he inexplicably disappears.
It turns out that Stella’s recovery journey has been turned into a book by Mannix, and after she returns home, her life is again turned upside down. She and her husband decide to split up–a fact not taken in stride by their kids–she gets a book deal, and reconnects with Mannix. But nothing can ever go smoothly, and Stella has to be careful about who she lets into her world and the decisions she makes.
To be honest, the most infuriating thing about this novel is that the main character is the very definition of the word “doormat.” She lets EVERY SINGLE PERSON in her life treat her rudely and with disrespect. She takes sass from her kids, insults from her husband, bad advice from her sister, and even lets her best friend whine on and on to her without saying a word. Some of the things her own family says to her are so awful, I was cringing myself and kind of wishing I could slap an imaginary person!
Even though Stella pulls through a terrible illness, no one treats her the better for it, and she does not make any changes in her life. Any good things just kind of HAPPEN to her–it’s by no ambition of her own. She also jumps from one relationship to another pretty quickly, because she can’t bear to be alone.
There are SOME moments that are funny or redeeming, but not enough to allow me to gloss over the flat plot and absolutely terrible characters that poison this book. I am sorry to say that The Woman Who Stole My Life is more like, The Author Who Stole my Time.
Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Viking. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.