Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly Blog Tour - This Chick Reads
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Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly Blog Tour

Happy Friday, guys! A new day, a new blog tour! Today I have the pleasure to post my review of Cathy Kelly’s new book SECRETS OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE, which was released by Orion just yesterday. Massive thanks to lovely Elaine for my review copy and the chance to be part of the blog tour. Enjoy!

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly
Published by Orion
Published on 9.3.2017
Genres: women’s fiction
Pages: 432
Format: paperback

The wonderful and heart-warming new novel full of secrets, lies and family ties from Sunday Times bestselling author, Cathy Kelly.

Bess is hoping to show everyone just how happy her recent marriage is, but behind all the party-planning the cracks are beginning to show. Why is joining a family so difficult?

Jojo, Bess’s stepdaughter, has a point to make. Bess is not her mother, and she won’t replace the one she’s been missing every day for the last two years. And will she ever get the chance to become a mum herself?

Cousin Cari is a fierce career-woman who isn’t unnerved by anything – apart from facing the man who left her at the alter, and he’s on the guestlist. Her job has been a safe place to hide ever since – but is it time to let love into her life again?

Thanks to laughter, tears and one surprise appearance, the Brannigans might just discover the secrets of a happy marriage . . . But will they find out before it’s too late?

I think I’ve said this a million times but I’m gonna repeat it once again. I LOVE Irish women’s fiction and Cathy’s books are at the top of that list. There’s something about them, just so comforting and familiar. Every time I pick up her book I know I will devour it in a day and think about it for a long time.

Naturally I was over the moon to hear she’s got a new one coming out and was thrilled when my copy arrived. Now that I’ve read it, I must say though it’s still classic Cathy which I love, there were some things which made the reading a bit difficult.

As always, Cathy explores difficult subjects in her book, infidelity, second marriages, new beginnings, infertility are just a few. The thing is, while some books focus on just one issue, in this book you have a plethora of characters with issues. While I definitely liked the variety it made it a bit hard to follow, that I admit.

Bess Brannigan is organizing a party for her husband’s 70th birthday. Bess is in her 60s and just recently married Edward. Edward has lost his first wife due to cancer and though he didn’t think he’d ever remarry, he met wonderful Bess and they just clicked from the start. Edward has two children, Paul and Jojo and although they’re grown up, independent and should understand his wish to move on with his life, Jojo just can’t accept it. She can’t believe her father is re-marrying just 2,5 years after losing the love of his life. She does everything in her power to make him change his mind, sabotaging Bess on every corner. I must say this was irritating as Jojo is not a kid, she’s in her 30s yet allows herself to lead someone else’s life. While I understand she’s still grieving about her mother, she’s not 10 and should know better. But things are not really easy for her, she’s going through her 3rd IVF and is desperate to have a baby. The infertility problems, the sadness, the marriage problems are just some of the reasons that fuel her anger towards Bess even more. Which is not OK, but people do act like this in real life too, not able to control themselves and their actions.

And then there’s Cari, Jojo’s cousin who also shares her story. While being an amazing career woman, she’s not that much lucky when it comes to love. Jilted at the alter a couple of years ago and being left for one of her cousins makes things really hard to forget and forgive. It’s only natural that she can’t trust men easily and this is just one of her issues. However, despite being complicated at times, I really liked her and think I got to connect with her the most. She’s such a good friend and cousin and always is there for Jojo when she needs her. And especially now, when Bess is organizing Edward’s birthday party at the same place where he and his deceased wife celebrated their 25th anniversary. This is the biggest shock for the family, especially Jojo.

Once you start reading this book you’ll see there are so many characters and stories to follow. Some of them, at least in my opinion, were not relevant to the plot and this did kind of burden the book. The first half of it is a bit slower as we’re getting introduced to Brannigans and some people connected with this family. It might be too hard to follow and you might need to go back and re-read some parts, which was what I experienced too. But the second half is when the story picks up and things get more interesting and full of drama.

You should know by now that this book is actually all about the characters. Yes, it’s rather character heavy but if you’re into women’s fiction/family drama it will probably get on your radar. Cathy is amazing when it comes to portraying characters, you get to really feel them, their strengths and flaws. As I said, my favourite character was Cari, but I think I would probably connect to the other main characters more if there were less of side ones. That made things rather difficult to follow or establish a connection with them. But they seemed real, their roads are bumpy and sometimes their destination is out of focus. But isn’t it that way in real life too? This is what I loved the most.

Another thing I absolutely loved is the quotes which open up every chapter. They were so amazing and carefully picked to fit the book and what’s happening in that chapter.

Cathy is an amazing author who really digs deep into relationships analyzing them from every possible angle. She really knows how to stretch her characters and put them in all sorts of different and difficult situations. If you’re looking for a complex women’s fiction/drama about family with loads of issues and challenges ahead of them, then this is definitely a book for you.

About Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of copies of her books in print. A number 1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia, she is one of Ireland’s best-loved storytellers.

Brought up in Dublin, on leaving school Cathy initially worked as a journalist with a national Irish newspaper, working in news and features alongside being an agony aunt and film critic. She loved being an agony aunt in particular, describing it as a bit like getting a PhD in people. Cathy juggled her job with writing in her spare time, and her first novel, Woman to Woman, was published in 1997. It went straight to number 1 on the Irish Times and Sunday Times bestseller lists.

Cathy’s trademark is warm Irish story-telling about modern life, and her books deal with themes ranging from relationships and marriage to depression and loss, but always with an uplifting message, sense of community and strong female characters at the heart.

She lives with her husband, John, their young twin sons, Dylan and Murray, and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for Unicef Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS.

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