Marian Keyes
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Buy *Angels* online

Marian Keyes
464 pages
May 2003
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Marian Keyes seems to succeed the most with her novels when she focuses on one of the Walsh sisters from Ireland. Rachel’s Holiday focused on drug-addicted sister Rachel, Watermelon was the story of Claire and how her husband left her the day she gave birth to their first child, and now Angels is a book about the “white sheep” of the Walsh family, Maggie. Maggie has been happily married to her high school boyfriend, Garv, for years, but their marriage has been on a downward slide. Everything falls apart when Maggie finds out that Garv has been seeing another woman. Heartbroken, she flees to her family home, which includes two half-crazy sisters and parents who have always thought of her as their one child who will never be the subject of a scandal.

After a few days of moping around her childhood home, Maggie decides to visit her friend Emily in Los Angeles. She thinks it will be good to get away for awhile, although she has some ulterior motivation involving an old boyfriend who frequents the Hollywood scene. As Maggie enters the world of cutthroat studio execs, high-class nightclubs and beautiful lesbians, she begins reflecting on how her marriage went so wrong. Matters get even more complicated when Shay Delaney, the supposed "one that got away," reappears in her life. Will Maggie find what she really wants and be able to be happy again?

This question is even more interesting because the reader really begins to care about Maggie, especially as she slowly reveals the blows that have brought her marriage to its knees. Unlike many chick-lit type books that portray the heroine’s ex as wholly unlikable, Garv comes across as a sweet, real man who has simply made some mistakes in his life. Having a sympathetic character as an ex complicates the plot, making it not nearly as predictable as one might think.

Angels is written with sensitivity and spunk, a combination that has really seemed to work for Keyes’ books in which the Walsh sisters appear. It works especially well here with Maggie being a character full of heart, intelligence and humor. The Walsh family also makes a pretty substantial appearance, and it’s always a joy getting to know them better. Angels is a book that will make you laugh, cry, and, most of all, hope against hope for a good outcome for the fabulous Maggie Walsh. In short, it does all that a good chick-lit book, or any book, for that matter, should do.

© 2003 by Angela McQuay for Curled Up With a Good Book

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