Marian Keyes

Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes review – a welcome return for the troubled heroine

When Marian Keyes announced she had written a sequel to her 1997 smash hit novel, Rachel’s Holiday, social media went into overdrive. Rachel’s Holiday – which sold more than 1.5m copies and spawned generations of devotees to Keyes’s writing – was a cultural phenomenon, following protagonist Rachel Walsh as she struggled to come to terms with drug and alcohol addiction during a spell in a Dublin rehab clinic, the Cloisters.
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Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes review: a sparky, plottier sequel to her 1998 hit Rachel's Holiday

Rachel’s Holiday, perhaps the best loved of all Marian Keyes’s wise and witty novels, was published in 1998 – the same year that Sex and the City began on HBO. The TV show peddled a lifestyle to which women of my generation wondered if we ought to aspire. We gawped at the endless rounds of cocktails and cupcakes that never seemed to affect the characters’ ability to slip into their daring designer dresses.

Marian Keyes: ‘Rehab was one of the happiest times of my life’

Marian Keyes is in bed. It’s two o’clock in the afternoon, but she has just got back from a funeral and was feeling chilly. “It was a beautiful send off,” she says in her southern Irish lilt, as reassurance that she’s OK to talk. She is wearing a lilac hoodie and flashes a pastel pink manicure (a Keyes heroine would know the shade) as she rearranges the pillows to get comfy. Within a few minutes it feels as if we are both having tea and biscuits under the duvet at her Dún Laoghaire home outside Dublin, as she gives me a virtual tour of her bedroom.

8 best Marian Keyes books: From ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ to ‘Grown Ups’

Marian Keyes means many things to many readers – a household name, a multimillion selling literary phenomenon, your sister’s favourite writer. Many of her readers consider themselves to be full-on fans. A few missed out on her brilliant earlier novels because some critics were slow to catch up with what the rest of us knew – that wise, moving, clever and brilliantly written books were contained within the feminine covers. Since the publication of her first novel, Watermelon, in 1995, Keyes has been a fixture on the bestseller lists. She’s a prolific novelist as well as a beloved essayist, and...