Can any of you believe that it was twenty-five years ago that the wonderful Rachel Walsh stole all our collective hearts with the release of Rachel’s Holiday. We were all introduced to The Walsh Family in Marian Keyes’ earlier publication, Watermelon, and then along came Rachel with her own complete story to tell.
‘Funny, sad, headstrong and achingly vulnerable, fun-loving Rachel connected with readers the world over. Ahead of her return in Again, Rachel (17th February 2022), a brand new 25th anniversary edition of Rachel’s Holiday will be released on 9th December 2021′
It is an honour and absolute pleasure to be joining the blog tour today with Marian Keyes, celebrating Rachel and all her quirks in advance of both these releases. When I was approached with the opportunity of reading Rachel’s Holiday I jumped at the chance to revisit a book that I had originally read back in the day when I was similar in age to Rachel. Would I love it as much now as I did then I asked myself…
[ About Rachel’s Holiday ]
Meet Rachel Walsh.
She’s been living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her adoring boyfriend, Luke.
But her sensible older sister showing up and sending her off to actual rehab wasn’t quite part of her plan.
She’s only agreed to her incarceration because she’s heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzis, spa treatments and celebrities going cold turkey – plus it’s about time she had a holiday.
Saying goodbye to fun and freedom will be hard – and losing the man who might just be the love of her life will be even harder.
But will hitting rock bottom help Rachel learn to love herself, at last?
[ My Review ]
Rachel’s Holiday was originally published in 1997 and became an instant phenomenon, as people across the globe connected with Rachel’s character in so many different ways. Rachel Walsh is one of five sisters who grew up on Dublin’s southside. Their home was noisy and chaotic, with the usual sibling rivalry and parental disagreements that are present in most families. Rachel’s position was in the middle and this always seemed to be an issue for her. Rachel felt different, never good enough, always comparing herself to her sisters’ successes and very aware of her own failures.
As soon as the opportunity arose, Rachel left Ireland behind with her best-friend Brigit, travelling to various parts, before finally settling in New York City into a lifestyle that, in hindsight, was probably not best suited to Rachel’s personality. Rachel saw these glamorous and oh-so-beautiful (and tiny) New York women and convinced herself that, with her height and general stature, she could never truly fit in. Rachel had size eight feet and, growing up, her mother always referred to how tall she was and how it would be difficult to find a man who she could literally look up to. She was described as big-boned and strong, words that in Rachel’s mind transferred to meaning overweight and ungainly.
In order to overcome what she saw as her shortcomings, Rachel dabbled in drugs. Recreational drugs provided her with a confidence to hold her head up high and to be someone else. She partied hard, dated, worked, got fired, partied, dated, worked, got fired, with the same pattern repeating itself over and over again. But then Rachel met Luke. He was handsome, sexy but, in Rachel’s mind, so not cool and she was caught off-guard. Six months into her, at times fraught, relationship with Luke, time was called on Rachel’s New York dream, as she took one too many drugs and was carted off home to Ireland and into rehab.
Rachel left New York under the illusion that this rehab centre would be like a spa, with a gym and a jacuzzi and some hot celebrities thrown in. She reckoned that this break might be good for her, a holiday that she herself could never afford, but nothing could have been further from the truth. On arrival Rachel was confused but prepared to be a little open-minded about the days ahead until the finger of therapy began to point in her direction. From denial, to anger, to acceptance, this is Rachel Walsh’s story.
There is a very simple reason why Marian Keyes is the beloved author of many the world over. Marian Keyes writes from the heart, with her own effusive personality bursting through. Rachel’s Holiday is like a warm hug, a trip down memory lane, while also being a reminder about how incredible Marian Keyes writing can be. This is NOT a fluffy book. Rachel’s Holiday explores many dark and emotive themes, including addiction, in all its forms, self-loathing, family dynamics and relationships. It is a compelling and candid read as we travel alongside Rachel on this extremely heart-breaking journey. Rachel Walsh is the voice of many young women who struggle daily with life decisions and that need to fit in with society’s expectations. Rachel Walsh is very self-deprecating with her life spinning out of control. Rachel Walsh is lost.
Marian Keyes writes with experience and a truthfulness that captivates. Her renowned humour filters through her words making every reader laugh and cry simultaneously. Rachel’s Holiday is a big read at nearly 600 pages but amazingly, on turning the final page, you will be left wanting more. And Marian Keyes listened to her readers, with the forthcoming sequel Again, Rachel being very exciting news indeed. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Rachel and am really looking forward to seeing what happened over the last twenty-five years. I have included details of Again, Rachel below so you can take a quick peek, but in the meantime I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this anniversary edition of Rachel’s Holiday and prepare to be entertained and bewitched by this truly poignant and engrossing tale.
[ About Again, Rachel ]
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?
[ Bio ]
Marian Keyes is a phenomenon. The multi-million copy, internationally bestselling author of some of the most widely loved, genre-defying novels of the past thirty years – such as Rachel’s Holiday, Anybody Out There and Grown Ups – has millions of fans around the world. They are irresistibly drawn by her warmth and wit, fearless honesty, relatable characters and relationships, and sheer storytelling magic. Not only has Marian inspired and entertained countless readers, but also the next generation of writers too.
As a beloved author herself, Marian is a passionate champion of storytellers everywhere, playing an active role in encouraging new voices. She has been the chair of judges for the Comedy Women in Print prize, a sponsor of the Curtis Brown Creative Marian Keyes scholarship, and most recently ran her own hugely popular Instagram Live series bringing free creative writing courses to thousands of viewers. Marian also uses her position to raise some of the most challenging issues of our time, including addiction, immigration, depression, domestic violence and the Repeal the Eighth campaign.
Both critically acclaimed and commercially unstoppable, Marian’s fourteenth novel Grown Ups went straight to No.1 in hardback and paperback in four global territories: UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards Audiobook of the Year. In addition to her novels, Marian has written two collections of journalism, as well as been the star of the second series of her hit show Between Ourselves aired on BBC Radio 4 at the start of 2021.
Again, Rachel, the sequel to her ground-breaking novel Rachel’s Holiday, will be Marian’s fifteenth novel.
Marian is based in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.
Twitter – @MarianKeyes