Set an apartment house in Dublin, The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes is the story of a spirit of some kind that inhabits an apartment house seeking something. Keyes wrote this in a countdown fashion, beginning on day 60 and each chapter thereafter counting down a day or two or a week later, indicating some deadline or coming event tied to the spirit. The characters consist of the tenants in the house, each seeking “the brightest star in the sky . . . the planet of love”.
There is Katie – a single publicist who just turned forty and has a mother who continues to remind of this milestone in not very nice ways. Katie has a boyfriend, Conall, who is a wealthy workaholic commitment phobe. There is Lydia – the crazy cab driver sharing an apartment with two guys who fear/dislike her, one with such a passion that he and Lydia actually have a brief affair. Lydia’s mother lives several towns over but is exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s, causing Lydia to tear up and down the highway weekly, sometimes more. There are Matt and Maeve – the newlyweds with strange habits that suggest some dark secret. And there is very handsome hunk named Fionn who is living with his psychic foster mother and her vicious dog while he shoots a gardening show for a home and garden channel. There is great humor in this book – but also some dark subjects including violence, Alzheimer’s, and death.
The tenants know one another as would tenants in any apartment building, but when Maeve and Matt’s secret explodes and crisis ensues, all of the tenants come together and become somewhat of a unit, each with their own strengths. And then there is the spirit . . . that twist was not quite expected and Keyes did an excellent job of playing that out to the end. And the end is sweet, but not too sugary. This book is a fun, but intelligent read. I am glad I did not miss this one.
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