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A review of Joanna Trollope’s Daughters-in-Law

clip_image001As Anthony and Rachel Brinkley welcome their third daughter-in-law to the family, they don’t quite realize the profound shift that is about to take place. For different reasons, the Brinkleys’ two previous daughters-in-law hadn’t been able to resist Rachel’s maternal control and Anthony’s gentle charm and had settled into their husbands’ family without rocking the boat.

But Charlotte—very young, very beautiful, and spoiled—has no intention of falling into step with the Brinkleys and wants to establish her own household. Soon Rachel’s sons begin to think of their own houses as home and of their mother’s house as simply the place where their parents live—a necessary and inevitable shift of loyalties that threatens Rachel’s sense of herself, breaks Anthony’s heart, and causes unexpected consequences in all the marriages. Then a crisis brings these changes to the surface, and everyone has to learn what family love means all over again.

Rachel and Anthony have three sons, all so very different, as are their wives. Edward, the eldest, is married to Sigrid. A Scandinavian woman who has bore him a daughter. There life seems perfect and orderly. They’d introduced their middle son, Ralph, to his wife Petra. She’d been a student in Anthony’s art class. The two have two sons, whose care seems to fall mainly on Petra’s shoulders. Their youngest, Luke, is ready to take a bride of his own. However, Charlotte isn’t quite the fit to the family as their previous daughter-in-laws. Rachel is a mother who takes pride in being the nexus of her family, and for her, this new addition to the family proves to be a somewhat difficult transition.

As with many families what appears on the outside, is only a façade of what is just below the service. Secrets, among the couples, are heading to a boiling point and the structures of the family are being tested, especially Rachel’s role as head of every family. The final blow come on the tail of financial difficulties for one of the sons. Rachel sees this as a problem for the entire family and of course another opportunity for her to fix things. This seems to be the moment the family needed to get real with one another.

This is the first of Joanna Trollope‘s books that I’ve read and once again, I have found another author to add to my list of favs. Her new book, Daughters In-Law, covers an array of emotion that I’m sure have been felt by every married woman with in-laws during some time in their marriage.

I found Trollope’s ability to show each character’s side of the story enlightening. She successfully weaves the lives of her characters into a tight little package, reflecting how they all influence each other’s outcome as well as their own. I really enjoyed the story and I’m sure others will too.

A great lounging on the beach, while sipping on a Pina Colada while a summer breeze blows through your hair, read. Go out and get it now for your summer reading list.


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