44 year old Amy is blindsided when her husband Hugh declares he wants a break from their marriage to travel South East Asia alone for 6 months. A break, not a break up Hugh is careful to emphasis but that doesn’t matter to Amy. She is devastated. It took her years to trust anyone after her first husband, footballer Richie, walked out on her and left her a single mother. As Hugh jets off with a quick dry towel and rucksack on his back, Amy has no time to fall apart. She has her three children to look after: Neeve, a vlogger who’s glad to see the back of Hugh and is desparate to get her father Richie back with Amy, Kiara who’s wise beyond her years and the dream child, and Sofie, Amy’s niece who’s delicate and has a fragile relationship with her parents. On top of this Amy has her PR job which takes her to London two days a week, her father who has dementia, her mother who has spent years being sick and just wants to have some fun, her slew of siblnigs and there problems and advise, not to mention all her ‘friends’ who only seem interested in Amy to get all the gossip about this Break. However, if Hugh’s on a break and allowed to sleep with other people, so is Amy right? So will she have some fun of her own? Will 6 months away change Amy and Hugh’s relationship? And will it change the rest of the family too?
On the suface, we have the basic story of Amy and Hugh and how this 6 month break will pan out and the idea of falling in love and staying in love. There are so many other subplots to keep everything interesting too. I love Marian Keyes, I’ve mentioned it on here so many times before. Her Walsh family series is my favourite because of the family dynamic and in The Break Keyes manages to nail that family dynamic again. Keyes writes Irish family life so well and it’s fantastic to see this modern family in action: A second marriage for Amy, with a child from her first marriage, a child from a second marriage and raising a niece like her own child, as well as how Amy’s own parents and siblings all interact with each other, the highs and lows of family life.
Keyes is amazing at writing something that will have you laughing on one page and then crying on the next. I could feel my heart breaking along with Amy after Hugh had made his decision to go. And the crisis pregnacy plot was fantastic, something that is such an important issue today in Ireland and that needs to be talked about more. I love that Keyes isn’t afraid to tackle more serious things like this, something she’s done before in past books with issues like addiction and depression. We also get plenty of laughs in this book, especially from Neeve and her granny vlogging, as well as Amy’s work collegues. I love Keyes’ humour, it always has a touch of Irishness to it that makes it so unique.
As for the characters, I neither loved nor hated Amy. I did like her and I empathised with her, but there was other times I wanted to shake her. Which I liked to be honest! Keyes writes complex and real characters who have flaws, it’s refreshing to have a leading character that isn’t perfect. She also writes arseholes well too, you’ll really want to reach into the book to give Hugh, Richie and a few others a good ol’ slap!
A fantastic read if you want something light and funny with substance. I’d love to see a follow up book with this family, they were so entertaining. Hands down my favourite Keyes novel since The Mystery at Mercy Close.
This book was provided as a digital review copy from NetGalley. I am under no obligation to post a review and all opinions are strictly my own