A novel set in the midst of the farming community, with a family at a tragic crossroads.
Joanna Trollope is the author of eagerly awaited and sparklingly readable novels often centred around the domestic nuaunces and dilemmas of life in present-day England. She has also written a number of historical novels and Britannia's Daughters, a study of women in the British Empire. Joanna Trollope was born in Gloucestershire and now lives in London. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.
Readers of Trollope (Marrying the Mistress, Other People's Children) have come to expect the unexpected, and this latest novel is no exception. It begins grimly, with the funeral of Caro Meredith, wife of a dairy farmer in the English Midlands. Caro's death is merely the prelude, however, to a series of shattering events for those she left behind from husband Robin and daughter Judy, a magazine "subeditor," to brother-in-law Joe and his wife, Lyndsay, to Robin's parents, Dilys and Harry. The arrival of Judy's unconventional roommate, Zoe, brings a measure of openness to this emotionally closed family and gives Robin some small amount of the love that he lacked throughout his marriage. Nevertheless, despite the transformative nature of tragedy, particularly for Judy, who chucks her London life, and Lyndsay, both of whom become farmers, the novel lacks the leavening that characterizes most of Trollope's work, and some readers may find it heavy going. Buy where Trollope is popular. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/01.] Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Extraordinarily powerful * Mail on Sunday *
A devastatingly acute picture of a harsh rural world * The Sunday Times *
Certainly one of her best * Daily Telegraph *
A richly satisfying novel, sometimes dark, but compulsively readable, and imagined with a warmth that makes its determined realism oddly uplifting * Sunday Express *
Her fine, gripping and unflinching novel * The Times *
Among bestselling British author Trollope's enviable skills are her ability to create characters with believable flaws, and to ponder plausible life situations in which the best possible outcome is merely pragmatic, rather than romantic, and tinged with rue as well as guarded hope. In her ninth novel (after Marrying the Mistress), the theme is the inevitability of change and the possibility of growth. The Meredith family, for generations farmers in the rural English midlands, are now beset by financial problems in a changing economy. The book opens with the funeral of Caro Meredith, a transplanted American who never adjusted to being a farm wife. Her husband, taciturn Robin, is less bereaved than relieved, since Caro stopped loving him long ago, but their adopted daughter, Judy, has always taken her mother's part and bitterly resents both her father and his dairy farm. Robin's parents live nearby, raising crops on their own acreage, and so does Robin's troubled brother, Joe, and his needy wife, Lindsay. Trollope does an excellent job of describing the dynamics of farm life, both the unremitting labor and the encroachment of modern techniques. As usual, she conveys the nuances of marriage, in which lack of communication can breed tragedy. After another family death and Robin's unexpected attraction to Judy's flaky London flatmate, Zoe, the novel becomes a crucible of change, realistically describing how brave people pull themselves together and move on. In addition to crafting an absorbing narrative, Trollope charms with her depiction of several young children, whose speech and behavior are captured with clarity and endearing fidelity. (July) Forecast: Trollope's devoted readers are rarely disappointed, and this new novel will add to her reputation for writing psychologically nuanced fiction that's commercially viable. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.