Your Preview Verdict: Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes

Your Preview Verdict: Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes

The international No.1 bestselling author writes her first sequel starring her most beloved character – form an orderly line!

Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.

But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.

But with the sudden reappearance of a man she’d once loved, her life wobbles.

She’d thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?

Is it time to think again, Rachel?

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

What an amazing follow on book to the first one. I had to go back and reread so I appreciated the full experience. Once again this book did not disappoint. I would recommend to everyone. Claire, VIC, 5 Stars

I love the way Marian Keyes makes you feel like you know the characters and a part of their lives. Again Rachel is warm, funny and yet heart-breaking all at once. I loved this book and hope there is another Rachel book to come. Kim, NSW, 5 Stars

There’s something familiar about a Marian Keyes novel, before I started this I vaguely remember reading Rachel’s Holiday in my early 20s and after the first few chapters it all came flooding back, particularly the family dynamics. You feel like a long lost family member being drawn into the dramatics of the Walsh family. Veronica, QLD, 5 Stars

I love Marian Keyes and was very excited to see the character of Rachel is back after a long hiatus. Keyes infuses humour and wit with heartbreak as we are taken on Rachel’s journey of self discovery. Rachel’s family is central to this novel with her mother and quirky sisters providing support in their various different ways. The novel also explores how our past collides with our future – seeing an ex is a typical dread many of us identify with. Rachel has experienced a traumatic past with her ex which dramatically changed her life direction and she must face it to move forward. Her job features heavily and is an extension of herself and her experiences, and the novel explores how much the past can impact on our lives and our future. While happy at work, she feels stuck and unable to settle in the rest of her life; beset by misunderstandings and emotionally blocked, the storyline follows her catharsis. Hilarious, perceptive, painful and touching, this book is like a warm hug. I was laughing while crying at times. Loved it! Debra, NSW, 5 Stars

Sit back and hold on, Again Rachel will take you on an unstoppable emotional roller coaster journey. This book will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. The characters are very well developed and you can’t help but fall in love with most of them (there were a couple I didn’t like). This book should come with a warning as some of the content and themes have the potential to trigger some people. Having said that I learnt a lot about addiction and rehab as well as resilience, honesty and love. This story has it all. I can guarantee you will fall in love with this book. Turn your phone off, find a comfy chair and immerse yourself in Rachel’s world. You will be so glad you did. Nicole, NSW, 5 Stars

I have loved Marian Keyes books for as long as I can remember. I can’t even recall which one of hers was my first, because I devoured them all as soon as I discovered them. There’s something about Marian’s style of writing that just gets into your soul. It’s funny, relatable, and adorable. There’s also times she goes on a deep dive into topics you don’t generally talk about, and you don’t even realise that’s where you’ve gone until you are there. And when it’s over, you are so glad it happened. Again, Rachael was a joy for me to read. I took my time, savouring the stories, almost feeling like I was part of this family catching up on all the goss. Then as I got towards the end I was afraid I wasn’t going to like the ending. I couldn’t even think of an ending I would like, the way the story progressed. It made me toss and turn at night thinking about it, that’s how invested I was. And then I turned the last page, put the book down and sobbed. Perfection. Again, Rachel has everything I ever want in a book. A true joy. Sharyn, QLD, 5 Stars

“What are you reading?” my husband asked. I showed him the cover. “New Marian. Why?” “Because you haven’t stopped smiling since you picked it up.” That is the most honest and accurate review I can give of Marian Keyes’ new book, Again, Rachel. It is comfort, it is warmth, it is returning home to family I adore and haven’t seen in years. Again, Rachel is the sequel to Rachel’s Holiday, and another addition to the Walsh family collection. But you don’t need to have read the first to enjoy it; it holds up beautifully on its own. We follow Rachel years after her stint in rehab for alcoholism. Her life is not the way we left it, in good and not-so-good ways. We piece together her life in the intervening years, and are made to question whether a happy-ever-after is even possible for Rachel, and what that would look like anyway. Keyes is a master of the anecdote; her nuanced characterisation and dry Irish wit are pure joy. She handles heavy, triggering themes with expert, feather-light precision, weaving heartbreak and humour so seamlessly you don’t realise you are laughing through tears. Gosh, I love her. And I love this book. Carlie, NSW, 5 Stars

Again, Rachel is the first Marian Keyes book I have ever read. How have I never discovered her before? I will certainly be rectifying this as soon as possible. Now for the book itself. I didn’t feel at all like I was missing out by not having read any of the other Walsh Family books. The characters are wonderfully well developed. They became like family to me, and I laughed and cried along with them. I feel so invested in this family now that I will certainly be getting my hands on the other books in the series so I can immerse myself in their lives. The book should come with a warning to keep a box of tissues handy as I was bawling my eyes out halfway through. To me that’s the sign of a good book, when I care so much about the characters that I am moved to tears by their circumstances. I won’t give anything away but will just say that I absolutely adored this book so much. Thank you to Better Reading for the preview copy. Maree, QLD, 5 Stars

Again, Rachel is a amazingly written love letter to life and I was reminded of Keyes talent for leaning on the readers emotions. I was laughing out loud and crying through actual tears. A real rollercoaster of emotions! Grief, addiction and failed relationships are dealt with gentleness but realness. As is humour and cheer for life’s positive experiences. A great balance. Again is the long awaited sequel to Rachel’s Holiday. We meet Rachel living the good life in Ireland, working at the rehab centre she was once a patient at. She is in a solid relationship and has a strong connection with her family. All is awesome until her ex Luke arrives to turn it all upside down. This novel is funny, sad, exciting and a page turner! Samantha, QLD, 5 Stars

Let me start by saying that 25 years ago, when Rachel’s Holiday hit he bookshelves, I was a school kid. I have not read the book for which Again, Rachel is a sequel, and it didn’t matter at all. (Although I plan to read it soon). Again, Rachel is continuing the story i20 years on. Rachel is now an addiction counsellor at the clinic that once saved her. She and Luke have been divorced for six years and have no communication. Rachel is dating Quin, an adrenaline junkie, who adores her but for some reason Rachel is reluctant to commit fully. Then Luke returns to Ireland. The author is dealing with a range of issues such as addiction, depression, grief but handles it in a light humorous manner. I loved reading about Rachel’s patients at the Cloisters, each patient so vividly depicted that the chapters dealing with their therapy meetings are like short stories. But this is Rachel’s story, and as it unfolds she must re-assess the progress she’s made and to confront painful truths about herself and her past. Full of wit, humour and tenderness and forgiveness, this is a novel well worth reading. Highly recommended. Liesl, NSW, 5 Stars

“Again Rachel” I was thrilled to find that there was another book about Rachel. I loved “Rachel’s Holiday “ Fell in love with the Walsh Family Rachel is in a good place, has a great job But she still has Addiction issues Not necessarily drugs, but the good things in life A very funny book, but also tragic Hopefully there’s more to come. Bridget, VIC, 5 Stars

This book is the sequel to Rachel’s Holiday, and picks up the story of Rachel Walsh, 20 odd years after the first book. I have to admit, I haven’t read the first, but Marian Keyes does a great job of recapping the important pieces, so I didn’t feel lost for not having read it. Initially, we were introduced to a great number of characters, but once I sorted them all, I found myself investing in the outcome of their storylines. This is an easy book to read, and the characters are believable and well portrayed. Marian Keyes justifiably has a large following of loyal readers, and I’m sure this book will be as well received as her previous works. Karen, VIC, 4 Stars

It had been decades since I read Rachel’s Holiday, so I was keen to read it again before diving into Again, Rachel. I’ve always loved Marian Keyes’ writing, and though I have read everything she has ever written, Rachel’s Holiday was the first book of hers that I had read twice. Given that I am 25 years older now, it’s no surprise that the story read differently to me this time around. Picking up Again, Rachel, I felt like I had grown up with her and her family and friends, felt like I was catching up with an old friend, and feeling the complexity of all of the life experiences that brought her to where she is today. Marian Keyes’ writing style never fails to engage, and Again, Rachel doesn’t require that you have read the prequel. A great read. Maarit, ACT, 4 Stars

No idea how I ever missed out on “Rachel’s Holiday”! I loved “Grown Ups” but obviously didn’t get the memo re all the Walsh family books and now have to check out Rachel’s original starring role (& the rest of the series…) The subject matter packs an emotional punch but a great read regardless. I adore Marian Keyes and her latest book definitely didn’t disappoint! Ayesha, NSW, 4 Stars

Again, Rachel is another relatable women’s fiction novel by Marian Keyes. Again, Rachel is the long-awaited sequel to Rachel’s Holiday which I haven’t read however I still enjoyed this story. Thanks to Better Reading for my ARC. Sharah, QLD, 4 Stars

I laughed and I cried. What an enjoyable read ‘Again, Rachel’ is. I hadn’t met Rachel previously as I’ve not read the first book. But I found her a very likeable, real and relatable character. This book deals with the topics of addiction and relationships in what I think is a non-confronting way. I recommend this for most readers of fiction. Alice, NSW, 4 Stars

A really heartfelt and relatable read, navigates the ins and outs of life, love and all in between. I loved the descriptive locations and being a similar age found it so hard to put down as it was so relatable. A beautiful story how if life goes down the wrong path you can always find your way back. Julie, NSW, 4 Stars

Marian Keyes has done it again with a wonderful tale of love, life, loss, tragedy and tenacity, peppered with much Irish humour. A very enjoyable read that touches on real and raw issues in an easily garnered and enjoyable way. Phoebe, VIC, 4 Stars

This book took me on a nostalgic ride. Marian Keyes’ books were a big part of my late twenties/early thirties and I have such fond memories of the Walsh family and their humorous antics. I always wanted there to be another Walsh sister just so I could hang out with them and their ‘ridey’ men for just a bit longer. Hence my excitement at getting my hands on this one. It has all the Marian magic – it shines a light on complex issues that are not readily explored and does so with a wonderful mix of sensitivity and wit. However, for me it was just too long! I think it could have had the same effect with 2-300 less pages. I found myself bored – too much repetition and minute details that weren’t necessary. I felt like skipping ahead and I do not like that feeling as a reader. Even so, I loved being back with this fabulous family. Oh and a little bit more from each Walsh woman (especially Mammy Walsh) would’ve been greatly appreciated. Rachel and Marian I’m so glad you did it again. Tammy, SA, 3 Stars

This was my first foray into the books of Marian Keyes – and yes I realised too late this was 7th in the series. I don’t know what the earlier books were like, but this one worked well enough as a standalone – though I’m sure it would add to the reading experience if you were already familiar with the Walsh family. This book was looooooooong but at one point I was thinking this at page 200 and then before I knew it I had 50 pages to go, so I knocked it out mostly in a day somehow. I felt a bit ‘meh’ about the love story, and personally I’m of the opinion that maybe Rachel could have found her happiness without a man, but I guess that wasn’t going to happen. I found the most entertaining parts were the patients she treated in rehab and her super dysfunctional but fascinating family. I didn’t personally connect with Rachel’s journey (but we are at very different phases of life) and I guess because I didn’t have an emotional connection from the previous books I didn’t have the same reaction as long-time fans will. I did enjoy the writing style, maybe it could have been a little shorter! Brit, VIC, 3 Stars

Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes Although it’s a sequel to the hugely popular ‘Rachel’s Holiday’, published 25 years ago, Marian Keyes skilfully weaves the essential parts of Rachel’s backstory into the sequel for readers meeting the character and her family for the first time. Life has moved on for the now forty-something recovering drug addict. She’s clean, living back in Ireland, and working as a trained therapist in the rehab centre where she was once a patient. She’s also tentatively navigating her way in a new relationship when former husband Luke unexpectedly re-enters the scene. Still addictive, these days Rachel limits her cravings to online purchases of trainers and gardening tools, delivered to work. Addiction in all its varieties is described through a cast of characters from multiple socio-economic backgrounds. Although never judgemental, this aspect of the book provides valuable insight into a very modern issue, both from the perspective of the addict, and their family and friends, but it’s handled sympathetically and optimistically. Numerous characters people this book, all of whom reflect a range of modern day social problems and dilemmas. Trying to include them all stretched credulity for me, but an easy if predictable read. Anne, TAS, 3 Stars

The stories of residents in the therapeutic community that were woven through the book teach the reader a great deal about the complexity of addiction and its treatment. However this was the most interesting part of the book for me. Rachel, with her poor boundaries, enmeshed family, and her own addiction to shopping and overbuying, was a very unsympathetic character. Most of the women in this book were deeply flawed and continued to behave like adolescents well into their 30s, 40s, and beyond. I could not identify with any of them, and was continually frustrated by the events and poor decisions made along the way. This meant that I didn’t really care how things turned out for Rachel in the end. Not an enjoyable read for me. Joanne, QLD, 2 Stars

Rachel is back. She has a job she loves, a man she loves, and her family. Until a shock death throws her life into chaos – can she cope with past trauma and accept that it was not her fault. I must be the only person in the world that did not love this book. I had never read any of Marian Keyes books before but my daughter loves them so thought I would too. There was too much “feelings” and misunderstandings for me. The family was too overwhelming – they could not do anything without a “conference at Mum’s”. I found it tedious and didn’t care how it ended. Give me a good murder any day! Teresa, NSW, 1 Star


A Brilliant Sequel: Read an Extract from Again, Rachel By Marian Keyes

Review | Extract

23 February 2022

A Brilliant Sequel: Read an Extract from Again, Rachel By Marian Keyes

    Master Storyteller: Read Our Review of Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes

    Review | Our Review

    22 February 2022

    Master Storyteller: Read Our Review of Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes

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        Publisher details

        Again, Rachel
        Marian Keyes
        15 February, 2022


        The international No.1 bestselling author writes her first sequel starring her most beloved character - form an orderly line!

        Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.

        But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.

        But with the sudden reappearance of a man she'd once loved, her life wobbles.

        She'd thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?

        Is it time to think again, Rachel?

        Marian Keyes
        About the author

        Marian Keyes

        Marian Keyes was born in Limerick in 1963, and brought up in Cavan, Cork, Galway and Dublin. She studied law and accountancy before turning to writing. Her first novel Watermelon was published in Ireland in 1995, where it was an immediate, runaway success. Marian Keyes is now one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time and is published in thirty nine different languages. She lives in Dún Laoghaire with her husband Tony. Marian Keyes is the internationally bestselling author of WatermelonLucy Sullivan is Getting MarriedRachel's HolidayLast Chance SaloonSushi for BeginnersAngelsThe Other Side of the Story and Anybody Out There. Her two collections of journalism, Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet, are also available in Penguin. Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.

        Books by Marian Keyes


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