Rachel’s Holiday – Marian Keyes

Hello Fellow Book Lovers!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter and a wonderful time reading plenty and making memories with the people you love most. I did manage to read a couple of books from the pile – I did add an image to my previous post so I’m hoping to squeeze in a couple more blog posts before I return to work! Last night, I stayed up to silly o’clock because I couldn’t put my book down. I was desperate to see what happened. The book I am talking about is of course, Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes.

Now I have to admit that I am a little late to the Marian Keyes party but a friend at work really was gushing about this book and Again, Rachel so I thought I’d give it a go. It really didn’t disappoint. I loved it and completely devoured it. I cannot believe it has taken me this long to get to it! Anyway, I just have to review it so enjoy!

What’s it all about?
As the title suggests, the novel centres around Rachel Walsh, a twenty seven year old, living what she believes is her best life in New York. She lives with her flat mate and best friend, Brigit, believes she is fat and ugly and spends a lot of time at parties or out doing recreational drugs. Rachel doesn’t see this as a problem but Brigit and her boyfriend, Luke, see the dramatic change in her. It all comes to a head when she ends up in a hospital bed after nearly killing herself. As a result, Rachel is ordered home to Ireland by her mother and father and placed into rehab, the Cloisters.

“You only grow up by living through the shit that life throws at you.”

The novel alternates between her New York life and the reasons why she got so heavily into drugs and her time at Cloisters. Sister Josephine who runs the group sessions, in Rachel’s opinion, lives to make her life miserable. The reality is that her role is to get them to face up to the reasons why they are addicts, to see the patterns of behaviour in order to prevent relapses. For the most part, Rachel doesn’t believe that she has a problem. Ever increasingly isolated, Rachel pines after Luke but is distracted by another resident: Chris. Whenever she felt down, he always seemed to be around with his wise words.

“It never rains but it damn well pours and I was afraid I’d be washed away in the deluge.” 

There are two key turning points for Rachel whilst at the Cloisters. The first is the visit of her parents during a group session. The quick fire questioning from Josephine evokes a number of emotions from Rachel – mainly rage. Her dad is quick to dismiss it as the ‘mother’s work’ and her mother is more concerned with how it looks to everyone else. It becomes a natural bone of contention. The second turning point is again during a group session but this time the visitors are Luke and. Brigit. Again, Rachel began with rage and fury about the amount of drugs and the range of drugs she was talking. Also, behaviours that she thought was hidden are also revealed, such as stealing. Ultimately, Rachel was at rock bottom.

“My life was a wreck. I had nothing, no material possessions, unless debts counts. Fourteen pairs of shoes that were too small for me was all I had to show after a lifetime of profligate spending. I hadn’t a job. I hadn’t any qualifications. I’d achieved nothing with my life. I’d never been happy. I had no husband or boyfriend.”

By the end of the novel, Rachel is open, reflective and honest with herself. She has gone full circle with regards to her drug taking and the rationale about it. She gets herself a little job, she seems closer with her sisters and parents and is ready to start her next chapter. It isn’t easy and she does slip up along the way but the lessons and advice from the Cloisters, ring in her ears. She can and will succeed.

“Talk is cheap, but look at how people behave, not at what they say.” 

Final Thoughts
Like I said, I stayed up to finish it because I had to know if Rachel made it. Despite her flaws, I still loved her character. In fact, her flaws made her all the more special to me. There were things I could relate to: the feeling of inadequacy, fear of what people think and ultimately the fear of failure. I am a complete Marian Keyes convert and will be keeping my eyes out for her rest of her novels. I loved it and I love Rachel.

Until next time…

Big love xxxx

10 thoughts on “Rachel’s Holiday – Marian Keyes

  1. I love transformative stories, where the main character goes through an evolution and is a lot wiser at the end of the novel. She sounds like someone to root for and there are some universal themes that make it easy to enjoy. I must give this author a try too!


    1. I’m soo late to the party but I’m exactly the same. I found myself really rooting for Rachel. I need to get on and read the next one because I’ve heard it’s just as good. Apparently (I’ve been told) Keyes does other novels which go through each of the sisters. I need to research more!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds fantastic, Charley! I just looked to see if we have the ebook at the library, but we don’t. We have other books by Marian Keyes though, including Rachel, Again. Is that the sequel? I definitely want to read Rachel’s Holiday. Thanks so much for sharing your review – I can see why you stayed up to silly o’clock to finish it 🙂


    1. Again, Rachel is the sequel yes! I hope you manage to get your hands on one. If not, I can send you a copy? I don’t mind.
      I need to branch out and read more Marian Keyes really. I’m so so glad I found her! Hope you’re well Book Club Mom x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Reading Round-Up: April – booksandbakes1

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