Monday, January 21, 2008

Other People's Children by Joanna Trollope

Other People's Children: the title refers to the stepchildren in the four families in Joanna Trollope's 1999 novel. The book begins with Matthew and Josie's wedding, numbly and nervously observed by Rufus, Josie's son by her first marriage. Also at their wedding are Matthew's equally discombobulated three children by his first marriage. Soon to enter each others lives are the various ex-spouses, ex-in-laws, new girlfriends, new houses, new schools and teachers and old resentments. There is enough anger to go around in the ever-widening effect of Josie and Matthew's second marriage, but this is not a grim book. It is a thoughtful look at each individual character and his or her place in the wider family context of modern life. The story follows the family Matthew left behind, the family Josie left behind and the blended family they try to create. The outcomes are different. Some people adapt successfully and some do not. Jami Edwards writes on Bookreporter,
'This is the crux of this compelling novel: separateness, and the heartbreak and diligence it takes to mold that into the togetherness of a family. Trollope has the enviable knack of being able to take an ordinary subject and elevate it to the extraordinary with the soul-searching power of her finely tuned writer's eye.'
Joanna Trollope is an author who can be depended upon to deliver a good story with interesting characters who have complicated personal and moral dilemmas.

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