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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Brightest Star in the Sky - Marian Keyes (General Fiction)



Released January 21, 2010

www.penguin.com

There's nothing I love more than curling up in front of the fire with a good book. The Brightest Star in the Sky goes a step farther by being a great book! I always enjoy Marian Keyes novels, her chick-lit especially. She's Irish, so they include that sarcastic sense of British humor that makes me feel at home, kind of a session with my aunts on "girl's night." Not everyone will get the language because despite what people think, there is a world of difference between English and what we speak here which I dub American.

With upwards of 500 pages, this is a good meaty story that draws you in with engaging characters, a substantial plot and then that twist that made me hit myself for not realizing a key point sooner. Ms. Keyes did an exceptional job making something so obvious become so difficult to deduce.

The characters in The Brightest Star in the Sky are numerous. The story begins with a spirit visiting the various apartment dwellers at 66 Star Street. Readers have no idea what the ghost's ultimate goal is, but it's fun trying to figure it out.

Katie just celebrated her 40th birthday, has never married, her ex-boyfriend is about to marry another, and while she has a beau, he's a workaholic. In a nutshell, Katie's starting to feel like an old maid.

Twenty-something Lydia drives a taxi for a living. Her mother is developing what seems like Alzheimer's and Lydia spends her time shuffling between work, her apartment and her mother's home. Lydia's newest roommates, both male, drive her mad, so she's confused when she keeps ending up in bed with one of them.

Maeve and Matt fell madly in love, married and spend every possible minute together. Despite their perfect appearances, both hide a secret from those around them. One that the spirit is desperate to unravel.

Elderly Jemima is a psychic and senses the ghost. However, her quiet life changes when her former foster son lands a television show on gardening and moves in with her. He's a ladies man and throwing the apartment into chaos as he works his charm on the various woman.

The story revolves around the lives of the characters intermingling. Affairs happen. Relationships seemingly appear out of no where adding a good dash of romance to this novel. As the ghost makes trips into their pasts, more about each character is revealed to the reader. The ultimate goal of the story, however, is determining the spirit's intentions and how each relationship ends up.

One of the biggest drawbacks to this book, and it's not really a bad thing, is that every time I put it down, I was itching to get right back to the story. I wanted to know how things turned out. In the end, time got away from me. I lack a clock down here near the woodstove and my well meant intentions on being in bed by 9:30 were shot when I finally headed upstairs only to find out that it was past 10:00 and even then I couldn't sleep because I wanted to read more. Not many stories tug at me that way.

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