Marian Keyes is an Irish author who pioneered the Chick Lit
genre. Her books are known for dealing with rather dark subjects while still giving the characters hope and a happy ending at the end of the books. She has also written a variety of short stories, non-fiction essays, and released a cookbook called Saved By Cake
that chronicled her nearly three year period of depression and how baking eventually helped her cope with her condition and return to the public eye.
You can find her on Twitter here
- Watermelon (1995): Claire Walsh's story, this is the first book featuring the Walsh sisters.
- Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married (1996)
- Rachel's Holiday (1998): Rachel Walsh
- Last Chance Saloon (1999)
- Sushi for Beginners (2000)
- Angels (2002): Maggie Walsh
- The Other Side of the Story (2004)
- Anybody Out There? (2006): Anna Walsh
- This Charming Man (2008)
- The Brightest Star in the Sky (2009)
- The Mystery of Mercy Close (2013): Helen Walsh
Keyes's works contain examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Marnie from This Charming Man turns to the bottle as she copes with being dissatisfied with her life and being unable to move on from her past relationship with Paddy de Courcy. Her alcoholism nearly destroys her family and her marriage.
- Lucy Sullivan discovers that her father's alcoholism had been so bad that it drove her mother to leave him for the owner of the local dry cleaners. Lucy herself had been in denial over her father while everyone else knew.
- Author Appeal: The frequent references to beauty products and chocolate is because of Marian's real-life passion for them. The reason Anna takes a public relations job with a cosmetics company is mostly so she can receive free makeup.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Matt and Maeve from The Brightest Star In The Sky have a child together after coming clean to each other about their secrets and the recent trauma of Maeve's rape and Matt's attempted suicide. The child's soul also happens to be the book's omniscient narrator.
- Maggie and Garv from Angels separate after Garv has an affair, but ultimately work things out and the book ends with Maggie 8 months pregnant and Garv at her side. Anna later comments that Maggie and Garv happily embraced parenthood.
- Bath Suicide: Matt attempts this, but it didn't take as his neighbors just barely manage to save him and he required a transfusion.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Walsh family. Maggie is repeated described by her sisters as the "White Sheep" of the family for having her life the most put together. In fact, her family hated Garv for being a decent guy.
- Bittersweet Ending: Although her books typically have a happy ending, one can't help but feel bad for Alicia as she has to deal with the aftermath of Paddy being publicly fired from his job.
- Camp Gay: Fintan from Last Chance Saloon, complete with fashion design career.
- Chick Lit: One of the best known names and early pioneers of the genre. What makes her books stand out is that they actually discuss some quite dark subject matter underneath the bright covers.
- Clingy Jealous Ex-Girlfriend: Karen, Lucy Sullivan's roommate, still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend Daniel and has been trying to get back together with him. When she hears that he's been going on dates with other women, she's furious as she still thinks Daniel loves her. When she discovers that Lucy and Daniel have gotten together, she calls Daniel when Lucy is over and curses him out.
- Defective Detective: Helen. She's a good investigator, but work has dried up over the years and she's been struck with severe depression and suicidal tendencies.
- Domestic Abuse: The overarching theme of This Charming Man as the four main characters reflect on how they have been affected by their relationship with Paddy de Courcy and his abuse of them.
- David from The Brightest Star in the Sky is implied to abuse his current girlfriend Steffi, and probably abused Maeve in the past.
- Thomas in Last Chance Saloon emotionally abuses his girlfriend Tara until she snaps and finally leaves him.
- Dysfunction Junction: Every major character hides some serious issues that drive much of the plots.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The characters go through some dark times in their lives, but they make it through at the end of the novel with hope.
- The Fashionista: Lola is a professional stylist. She's also Paddy de Courcy's secret girlfriend and when it's publicly announced that he's marrying someone else, she has a Heroic BSOD and flees to rural Ireland.
- Heroic BSOD: The opening of This Charming Man announces that the rising politician Paddy de Courcy is engaged. This revelation causes Lola, who had been dating Paddy but not the one he's marrying, to have a breakdown and flee to County Clare, Ireland.
- Laser-Guided Karma: David, who is a grade-A Jerkass, forces his girlfriend Steffi to accompany him to a rape protest so that he can flaunt the fact that he was not prosecuted for raping Maeve. No sooner than he sees Matt and Maeve together, that a falling piece of ice impales him in the head, killing him dead.
- No sooner than after Paddy gets married to Alicia, he is publicly sacked from his job by Dee Rossini, his party's leader. It turns out that Dee is a Domestic Abuse survivor herself, and didn't take too kindly to rumors of Paddy's abuse and his plotting to take the party from her.
- Love Dodecahedron: Lucy Sullivan meets four different men: gorgeous American Chuck, unreliable Gus, her new coworker Jed, and Daniel the Casanova who's also her roommate's ex. She's a bit torn on where her feelings lie and her roommate Karen still has feelings for Daniel. Lucy and Daniel end up together after much miscommunication and Gus disappearing on her again. Karen breaks off her friendship with Lucy and starts dating their friend Charlotte's ex Simon out of spite. Jed and Chuck were never in the picture to begin with as Jed starts dating another coworker and Chuck returned to Arizona halfway through the novel.
- Multiple Narrative Modes: This Charming Man cycles through the points of view of four women who have had their lives affected by the politician Paddy de Courcy.
- No Accounting for Taste: The question Tara's friends ask of her boyfriend Thomas in Last Chance Saloon. Thomas is a cheapskate and emotionally abuses Tara, and Tara copes with it because she is too insecure to leave him until one day she snaps and finally leaves him.
- Posthumous Character: Anna's husband Aidan in Anybody Out There?. The course of the novel is Anna attempting to cope with the reality of his death from the same taxi accident that left her severely injured and scarred.
- Private Detective: Helen Walsh. The Mystery of Mercy Close centers on her tracking down a missing boy band singer while dealing with her own demons.
- Race for Your Love: Subverted in Angels. Maggie rushes to the airport in pursuit of her estranged husband, but she's stopped by security guards. She returns home, only to find him there waiting for her - he decided not to get on the plane after all.
- Rape as Drama: Maeve in The Brightest Star In The Sky is traumatically raped by her ex-boyfriend David. This drives a wedge into her relationship with her husband Matt, but after coming clean with their secrets, their relationship is on the mend with a baby on the way.
- Reality Subtext: Many of her characters struggle with depression and alcoholism. Marian Keyes herself has been struggling with depression and alcoholism all her life and disappeared from the public eye for nearly three years due to a severe bout of depression. The Mystery of Mercy Close reflects this the most.
- Real Men Wear Pink: After he retired, Dad Walsh became a fan of Sex and the City, disappointed in Desperate Housewives and regularly picks up Cosmo and other "girly" magazines, claiming that they're for his wife and daughters. It was his idea to send Rachel to a rehab center that was known for its celebrity clients.
- Stepford Smiler: All of her characters are this to some degree. Alicia Thornton thoroughly becomes one at the end of This Charming Man as she realizes that Paddy has lost his job and she has to cope with the aftermath.
- Time Skip: Each of the Walsh family novels take place the year they were published and the characters age appropriately.
- Tropaholics Anonymous: Rachel's Holiday opens with the title character enjoying herself so much that she overdoses and her family kicks her off to rehab.
- Your Cheating Heart:
- Angels: Maggie discovers that her husband has been having an affair and they separate, but ultimately work things out. Shay Delaney, who had been having an on-off flirtation with Maggie during her time in Los Angeles, asks her to be his mistress because he won't leave his wife but likes Maggie. Naturally, she declines.
- Watermelon: Claire's husband leaves her for another woman the day she gives birth to their daughter. The other woman, Denise, is also married. Claire's shock and anger stems from the fact that James waited until their daughter was born to leave her and that Denise is older than her. Later in the novel, he demands Claire to take him back two months after he ends his affair. She doesn't and when he attempts to flaunt his latest relationship in her face, she airily dismisses him.
- The Other Side Of The Story: Gemma's boyfriend Anton left her for her former friend Lily, Jojo is the mistress of her married managing partner, and Gemma's father left her mother for a younger woman.