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'The Other Side of the Story' is Marian Keyes' most ambitious - and best - novel to date. This time around Ireland's top chick-lit author has turned her attentions to the glamorous world of publishing - something she obviously knows a lot about. With her usual wry sense of humour and intimate style, Keyes brings us a fascinating and gripping behind-the-scenes look at the business of books, populated by three very different heroines.

Gemma is still coming to terms with her ex-best friend setting up home with her ex-boyfriend when, out of the blue, her father leaves her mother for his much younger secretary. With her mother on the verge of a breakdown and Gemma on 24-hour watch with the tranquillisers, she realises her upside down life would make a great book.

Lily is enjoying overnight success with her debut novel and life couldn't be better for her, her husband Anton, and their darling daughter Ema. But she's plagued with guilt over falling in love with her best friend's ex and she just can't shake the feeling that what goes around comes around.

And then there's Jojo, literary agent extraordinaire, representing one-time friends Gemma and Lily, who happens to be in love with her very married boss.

Keyes brilliantly intertwines the lives of these three women and tells their individual stories in a clever, unique and heart-warming way. Never once does the reader get confused or frustrated and Keyes manages to create a bond between the reader and all three protagonists - a worthy feat when so many other authors can't even do that with just one character.

Although it's well over 600 pages long, Keyes matches the quantity with quality and it's heartening to see that even a writer as successful, rich and talented as Keyes is still growing and developing her writing style. Dig out a bigger suitcase because you can't head for the beach this summer and not bring 'The Other Side of the Story' along.

Amanda Fennelly