I downloaded Daughers-in-law by Joanna Trollope to my Kindle to read on holiday this week.
Daughters-in-law tells the story of Rachel and Anthony, a couple in their sixties, whose three sons – Edward, Ralph and Luke – are married to three very different young women. Edward’s wife is Swedish and they have a daughter, Mariella, who to my mind is the most endearing of the characters in this novel with the possible exception of the Swedish mother-in-law whose cameo appearance reveals her to be the fount of good sense and who is largely responsible for stimulating the rebuilding of the Brinkley family relationships.
Like so many of her novels, Daughters-in-law by Joanna Trollope is less about plot and more about emotion. On the surface it’s a typical middle-class, comfortable world where Rachel, as matriarch, presides over all from her well-stocked kitchen. But beneath the surface there is a lot more going on in Daughters-in-Law and much of it is rather bleak because for all their inter-connections, fundamentally Trollope shows just how alone each of these women – and indeed their men – really is. So, yes, it’s a holiday read and, as always in Joanna Trollope’s novels, it is beautifully written and absolutely engaging. But don’t be surprised if you come away thinking a little uncomfortably about your own family relationships and perhaps feeling a little less secure as a consequence.
If you like Daughters-in-Law, you might also like The Soldier’s Wife.