Review: Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope


Joanna Trollope

Rachel loves being at the centre of her large family. She has devoted herself fiercely to bringing up her three sons, and continues to do so now that they are all grown up – and getting married.

In return, the boys remain deeply attached to her, and to their father, Anthony, and to their childhood home on the wide, bird-haunted coast of Suffolk.

But when her youngest, Luke, gets married, Rachel finds that her control begins to slip away. Other women – her daughters-in-law – are usurping her position, and seem to be becoming more important to her boys than she is. She can no longer rely on her time-honoured role as provider and matriarch. Her daughters-in-law begin to do things in their individual and separate ways, and so, to her bewilderment and grief, do her husband and sons.

A crisis brings these subtle rifts to the surface, forcing the whole family to question old assumptions and find a new dynamic, if any of their relationships are going to survive.

The book starts at Luke’s wedding (the younger of the three boys), with his Dad, Anthony perving on his future daughter-in-law Charlotte, immediately the reader can tells that there are many different dynamics and levels, within the family and extended family.

This book explores all of the relationships that develop within a family as it grows, husband and wife, mother and son, son and girlfriend, mother and daughter-in-law, as well as grandparent and grandchild and sister-in-law to sister-in-law. The book expands as the characters relationships advance, and we follow Rachel’s (the ultimate mother’s) progression of being the absolute matriarch in her children’s lives to almost an inconvenience as her boys grow and start families of their own.

The book is surprising in it’s depth and detail and has more oomph that I would have first given it credit for, it really shows how complicated relationships can be, especially when people are unwilling to adjust and accommodate around new people. Whether they are the new introduction to the family or a long standing family member.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and it was another one that really touched me while I was reading it. It shows how important it is, as a mother that you make sure that you don’t lose touch with yourself and make a concerted effort to develop along with the family that is being raised.

Favourite Quote: ‘No crying,’ her mother said more gently. ‘We are both too old for that. A bit of frankness between women shouldn’t make you cry.’…Her mother paused, passing her chair. She said, ‘It never works, Sigi. You just take it all with you, anyway. You can change your situation, but it will be the same one if you don’t change yourself. I say this to my patients, over and over. I should have it painted on my surgery wall.’ Page 255.

Reviewed with thanks to Mamamia

Published by Random House

Recommended Retail Price $32.99 (trade paperback version)

Recommended Age:18+ (Women)

My Rating: 5/5


One Response to Review: Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope

  1. Pingback: Domestic Sturm und Drang: Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope « Bay State Reader's Advisory: Reading Suggestions from a Massachusetts Librarian

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