While I have loved all of Keyes’ books, The Woman Who Stole My Life feels closer to her original titles (Watermelon, Last Chance Saloon). Less of a tear-jerker than than previous few (The Mystery of Mercy Close), there is still plenty of Keyes’ signature heartache and disaster. Beautician Stella becomes locked in her body from the extremely rare Guillain-Barré syndrome. Only able to communicate via blinking, she forms a close friendship with her doctor – the improbably named Mannix Taylor. As a gift to celebrate her recovery, he self-publishes a small book of her daily aphorisms. Once the little tome is picked up by People, Stella is suddenly catapulted into the high-pressure world of publishing and away from her normal, quiet suburban life. Full of all the ups and downs Keyes fans love, lots of loud, wild Irish characters and, of course, plenty of her signature humor.
“We like to laugh at people,” Dad said. “We’re well able to laugh Ryan here – no offense, son, but we make fun of you all the time. And Karen’s Enda, though he’s a copper, he’s comical, in his way. But this Taylor chap is a different prospect. He has…gravitas.”
“Is that the same as ‘cojones’ ” Mum asked, in a quiet aside.
“It’s not,” Dad sounded exasperated. “Cojones is different.”