What do a stylist, a reporter, a public relations rep, and a mortgage broker have in common? Well, in this case, they were all involved with one man, Paddy de Courcy. Paddy de Courcy has it all, looks, charisma, charm, ruthless ambition, and is a rising star in Irish politics.
Set in Ireland, Keyes characters are all almost ruined by their relationships with Paddy. For some, it was long ago and for others like Lola, she just found out that their relationship was over when engagement to Alicia was splashed all over the media.
Lola, Alicia, Grace, and Marnie have all developed their own coping skills. And eventually the true story of what Paddy does to women comes out when these women end up getting together and sharing their stories. They all face and deal with the past differently, but you would be hard pressed not to find a little of yourself in each of them. As their lives intertwine they find courage, strength, acceptance and ultimately power by pooling their resources and confronting the demon in their past, Paddy de Courcy.
Keyes has turned a story which could easily been another whinny, I hate men, “chick lit” and written an entertaining story that leaves you feeling empowered. Particularly funny was Lola’s story and how while hiding out in the country, trying to forget her betrayal, she ended up being the host for weekly meetings of the local, still in the closet, cross dressers. (just what every cross dresser needs…..a stylist!)
The ending is a stunning turnaround and I found myself cheering for them. This Charming Man is something I might call “chick lit” on steroids and way beyond beach trash. The issues are heavy, but Keyes treats them with respect and like I said, it leaves you empowered and victorious, not down in the dumps.
I would give this book an A. The only reason it is not an A+ is that in creating the different voices of the characters, Keyes has one that drops articles, pronouns, etc. It was a bit irritating at first, but by the end, I hardly noticed.
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (June 17, 2008)