Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Other Family by Joanna Trollope

"Chrissie always believed that Richie had loved her for all the 23 years they’d been together, loved their three daughters, their London house and their happy existence. But if she really was the love of his life, why had he never given her the security of marriage? That belonged, still, to Margaret, back in Newcastle where Richie had started off as a musician, before he became famous. Margaret and her son Scott never saw Richie these days. They were his other family, not mentioned but always in Chrissie’s mind. And then, suddenly and shockingly, Richie dies, and Chrissie and the girls have to learn to manage without him. The presence of the other family becomes, all at once, impossible to ignore – not least because they are involved in Richie’s will. Old resentments, and feelings of abandonment and loss, have to jostle with the practicalities of money and property... "

Joanna Trollope likes to write about modern issues. This time it's a question of what happens when a chap doesn't marry the mother of his 3 daughters (aged about 22, 20,18 and still at home). Richie's daughters have been oversheltered -  in fact, family life revolved around him and his music - and now he's dead they have to manage without him, while coming to terms with his will which leaves some precious possessions to his original family and Family 2 short of money. I felt that JT was back on form (hadn't enjoyed her last few books quite as much as I expected) and the dilemmas struck me as realistic and written from the heart.  Only trouble was Chrissie, who had managed Richie's musical career, became rather tiresomely jealous and self-centred, and Margaret in Tyneside seemed too reserved to get to grips with. In the end all wobbly lips became suitably stiffened and the characters resolve to move on, all except the lovely cat who was quite happy with the status quo. Worth reading if you like JT which a lot of us do.


LindyLouMac said...

Yes I do like Joanna Trollope and this is already on my wishlist, thanks for the review.
Have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to continuing to follow your blog in 2011.

Nan said...

I've just read one Joanna T. book, Other People's Children, and I thought it was perfectly done; a really honest story of what blended families must feel.

sablonneuse said...

Thanks for the review. I enjoy JT's books but haven't read any recently.
By the way, I've lent my copy of Paris Imperfect to one of my advanced English students. She's really enjoying it.