Kate is in her fifties, recently widowed, and coping with the difficulties--and occasional pleasures--of flying solo. But when her daughter Joanna's husband walks out, and Joanna instantly assumes that Kate will step into the supporting Granny role while she goes career and man-hunting, Kate realizes it is time to step outside her family's preconceived expectations--with devastating results. What follows is a delightful story of the relationships and unspoken power struggles between four generations of women.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Fiftysomething Kate Rendlesham has spent the majority of her life keeping up appearances for the sake of her family and her powerful, if philandering, husband. After his death, however, she feels herself stretching toward a new identity that has nothing to do with being the wife of the late Oliver Rendlesham. Armed with her embroidery skills and some newfound courage, Kate embarks on a new life.
Though convincing herself of her abilities is her first trial, nothing is as difficult as overcoming the skepticism of her peers and the misplaced resentment of her daughter, Joanna, and her granddaughter, Harriet. Having relied on Kate as an ever-available babysitter, Joanna sees her mother's actions as an ill-fated and selfish mid-life crisis. And while Harriet understands Kate's motivations, she aches for a nurturing intimacy that the stiff Joanna cannot provide. Struggling to defend her new independence, Kate finds inspiration in an enchanted observatory and its handsome owner, Jack Morley.
Posing as the groundskeeper, Jack invites Kate to live in the observatory in exchange for her managing its renovation. Kate discovers in Jack someone "with whom it was so easy to communicate that she felt as if they shared their thoughts before they had even put them into words." But the intensity of their feelings makes her discovery of Jack's secret past deeply painful. Grappling with her mixed emotions, Kate offers little support to Joanna as her fragile marriage Crumbles and to Harriet before she drifts into angry estrangement. As Kate, Joanna, and Harriet each face broken relationships, they must learn to pick up the pieces and create a new future.
From the navel-piercing teenager to the exotic grande dame, Mary Sheepshanks shows a keen eye for human behavior in Picking Up the Pieces. Rich description and dialogue make the rural English setting feel familiar, even for those of us who don't own cottage farms or drink afternoon tea. Readers of all ages will be able to empathize with these three women as we follow them through life transformations, and the wit and humanity of this multi-generational story will endure through multiple readings. --Nancy R.E. O'BrienFrom the Publisher:
"An enchanting novel...Encounter the delightful individuals who inhabit [Sheepshanks'] world." --Rosamunde Pilcher (from the introduction)
"This comic novel by Mary Sheepshanks is like 'Masterpiece Theater' at its best: chock-full of memorable characters and romantically satisfying in a low-key, tastefully British sort of way." --New York Times Book Review
"[A] wonderfully British comedy of manners." --Library Journal
"An intelligent, lighthearted romp...A classy comedy of manners that's also a delightfully witty commentary on those two great passions--the love of humans for each other and for their old houses." --Kirkus Reviews
"[An] assured, well-crafted third novel...Sheepshanks draws well-shaded characters and exhibits a firm grasp of family dynamics while managing to keep the novel's romance element grounded and real." --Publishers Weekly
"A fabulous relationship drama... The story line is well written as family interplay is cleverly described... Mary Sheepshanks...is clearly one of the best writers of contemporary women's fiction on the market today." --Harriet Klausner, Painted Rock Reviews
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110099173220