So I have all of the Walsh Family books in paperback. I haven’t read them in years, but decided to take the first two for a whirl this weekend. And now I wonder if I read this years ago and liked Claire or what? Cause Claire drives me a bit insane in this book. And when you read about how she changes over the course of the series, she ends up being the Walsh sister I dislike the most (tied with Helen and her book, “The Mystery of Mercy Close”). So good things I can say, the re-read went by fast and I loved the change in Claire, but it didn’t really stick though. The not so good things, I see more flaws in this one upon re-read. The Walsh family is kind of nasty and not supportive. I thought that Claire too easily caved and was sitting around waiting for a man to save her. Also the whole why behind James’s affair read as unbelievable to the extreme. I also thought that her romance came out of nowhere and ultimately didn’t work.
“Watermelon” is the first book in the Walsh Family series by Marian Keyes. The first book deals with the oldest of the Walsh sisters, Claire. Claire is happily married to her husband James and living in London. She’s expecting their first child any day now. When Claire goes into labor and gives birth to their daughter, James informs her that he’s been having an affair and is leaving her for the other woman.
So there is Claire days postpartum with no husband which causes her to return home with her daughter to her family in Dublin, Ireland.
Most of the book deals with Claire depressed and upset (rightfully so) with wondering where did things go wrong with her husband. Keyes does a lot of switching between past events and the present day. I have to say that Claire was pretty much a mess. Her mother deals with the baby for the most part and the baby isn’t even a thought I felt after a while. When Claire starts to feel tingles towards a man she meets I just hard sighed. And of course Claire’s husband returns and I maybe sighed some more. So we get a love triangle which is one of the romance tropes I hate the most.
The other characters in this book are not developed very well. Claire’s mother kind of sucks and isn’t that supportive of her daughter actually kicking her lousy husband to the curb. Her two younger sisters, Anna and Helen sound exhausting. I would have ended up slapping Helen and trying to smother her. She’s nasty and everyone seems to excuse it cause’s she’s small and gorgeous.
James was developed very well, but the real why behind the affair read as false to me. I scratched my head a few times because I couldn’t remember that at all. James seemed to undergo a personality transplant that didn’t work. Romance trope that I hate, make the guy who actually sounds awesome suddenly turn into a monster for plot reasons so heroine can be with the other guy.
The writing was okay, I was mostly bored though with the book after a while. I realized it was because that unlike with most of my favorite re-reads, I wasn’t enjoying this one that much and since I knew the ending I was wondering why it was taking Keyes so long to get there. This is a pretty big paperback that I have (it’s over 400 pages) and I am wondering about donating it since there are other series that I like a lot more and I don’t want to wait another 10 years before picking this up again.
The ending was flat. I honestly wish that there had been additional conversations between Claire and James. Honestly I wish that Keyes had decided to focus in on them and not even bring in that other love interest. It was just a mess and the backstory of that guy had me sighing hard too.