cover image The Woman Who Stole My Life

The Woman Who Stole My Life

Marian Keyes. Viking, $27.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-525-42925-8

Keyes (The Mystery of Mercy Close) infuses her trademark levity into her latest novel, an honest examination of how dynamics change when one is struck with a life-threatening disease. Irish beautician Stella Sweeney is leading an unremarkable life with her husband and children when she is stricken by Guillain-Barr%C3%A9 Syndrome. Immediately, the disease renders her locked into her body%E2%80%94able to think, see, and hear, but only able to communicate via blinking. After her marriage breaks up, the only bright spots in her days are visits from her neurologist, Mannix Taylor, with whom she forms a reluctant alliance. After she recovers, Stella discovers that Mannix has compiled all of the messages she blinked into book form, and she is thrust into the spotlight as a self-help author while also trying to adjust to an unexpected yet much appreciated romance. Keyes meanders a bit with the story, which toggles between the present day and Stella's illness in the past, introducing plot points that might resonate better%E2%80%94and be better understood%E2%80%94once readers have gotten to know the flawed yet engaging main character and the solid lineup of supporting characters. Still, Keyes manages to bring a lightness and humor to a weighty topic. (July)