Joanna Trollope braves another emotional minefield with breathtaking agility in her irresistible new novel. She throws light into the recognisable but shadowy corners of human behaviour and comes away with a compelling story and drama.
Simon Stockdale spells it out for his teenage son Jack: ‘Your grandfather is proposing to leave your grandmother to whom he has been married for forty years and marry a woman with whom he has been having an affair for seven years.’
‘Grando?’ marvels Jack. ‘Grando wants out and to start again?’ What can this mean to a boy in the throes of his first love affair? Or to Simon’s wife Carrie who always thought her wronged mother-in-law was one of the most self-pitying women she’d ever met anyway? Filial debts are about to be called in and Carrie doesn’t want her husband Simon to pay them. Yet Simon feels a bond of obligation towards his mother which makes him vulnerable – and which no one else can fathom.
And what of the mistress – a barrister who has fallen in love with a judge twice her age? What if she isn’t just ‘His Honour’s totty’, as one court official labels her. What if, as Simon’s gay brother Alan decides, ‘She’s the real thing, She’s a proper person.’
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
The court official leaned closer.
"What's gone past", he said 'is not just an advocate, any old lady advocate. What's gone past is his Honour's totty".
And what's going past is the life of Guy Stockdale, a 62-year-old judge, who has been married forever, has two sons--Simon and Alan--and three grandchildren. For the past seven years, he has also had a mistress; Merrion Palmer is intelligent, attractive and half Guy's age, which also makes her younger than both Simon and Alan. Her dad died when she was a toddler and she is well aware that Guy is something of a father substitute. For years the role of mistress has suited her but then, suddenly, this style of relationship isn't enough for either of them. They have both had enough of sneaking around and avoiding people, so Guy has momentously made up his mind to leave his wife Laura and marry Merrion.
Marrying the Mistress dives into the shock-waves that buffet the Stockdale family after Guy leaves Laura. The novel addresses the question of how his sons are going to cope, the explosive opinions of his forthright daughter-in-law Carrie and what his teenage grandchildren make of it all. Can any of them avoid taking sides? Should they? And what about the abandoned wife Laura, a woman apparently so long-sufferingly self-sacrificing she makes Mother Teresa look selfish?
From queen of the aga saga Joanna Trollope comes a dexterous portrayal of the causes and effects of marital breakdown: the stresses, the battle of wills, the bitterness and personal growth, the renegotiation of relationships--and an exposure of the depths to which the moral high ground can sink. --Lisa GeeReview:
‘Hodge is at home in the middle-class milieu of herbaceous borders and china cups, but she also works brilliantly to betray feelings in the voices of family members in a crisis.’
‘A gripping read – As shrewdly observant of psychological and domestic detail as anything she has written.’
Daily Telegraph on Other People’s Children.
“A novel to raise passions, beautifully read by Patricia Hodge.”
Express on Other People’s Children.
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