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Book Review – Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

Cathy Kelly


RRP: $34.99

It’s no surprise that the back of this novel carries the quote from Marian Keyes “Wise, warm, compassionate” – because really Cathy Kelly and Marina Keyes are quite similar writers (I think) – masters of the ‘chick lit’ genre and both masters of this form. IN my opinion, Keyes is the joker and that Kelly is the romantic. Either way they’re both well renowned authors for a reason, and Kelly’s latest “Secrets of a Happy Marriage” is no exception.

Following a family of woman – it follows three main characters – Bess, Jojo and Cari. As with many of Kelly’s other books however there is also a strong cast of supporting characters who really add to the tale.

Another of Kelly’s skills that are evident in this novel is the ability to communicate across generations and to seemingly understand characters’ motivations, so that even if people act like idiots, or in seemingly heartless ways we, the reader, still have some empathy for the ‘villain’ as we always have some insight into their motivations.

Bess and Jojo are the two who fail to see eye to eye in this novel, and this is a bit of an issue – given that Bess has just married Jojo’s recently married father. Both bring with them a history (as well as some stuff form the present) that neither is aware of and this leads to misunderstanding and distrust.

Cari is Jojo’s cousin and her story is all about the damage caused by her being left, literally at the altar. As you can imagine there is plenty to be ‘learnt’ (both good and bad) from that experience – and we follow her as she finds her way back to the ‘real’ world.

Kelly is a romantic at heart and it will come as no surprise to her loyal fan base that there is of course happy endings for everyone in this novel. I suspect that’s why her readers love her novels so much – you can always rest assured that no matter the trials and tribulations, it will all work out OK in the end. They cynic in me always cringes at little at the neat endings and hastily resolved ‘disasters’ – but that said you always put the book down with a happy heart and a belief that everything just might work out for you too….if only life were so predictable.

I’d happily recommend this book to Kelly fans – it’s as good as her previous novels; also recommend to fans of Marian Keyes and other ‘chick lit’ type novels – whilst you want get the laughs that Keyes provides with her cynicism and wit you will enjoy the linked storylines and resolution.


About the Author

Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of books in print. A No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia, her trademark is warm Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, sense of community and strong female characters at the heart.

Author Website: www.cathykelly.com

About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is the General Manager at Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 10 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two small children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.