The Other Family by Joanna Trollope

The fallout that occurs after the death of musician Richie Rossiter affects both his first and second family. As always, Joanna Trollope is sure-footed in her insights and full of empathy for her characters.

I sometimes feel as if I have grown up and grown older with Joanne Trollope. She is like a good friend — great company and a great story teller. She never lacks insight or empathy. She’s dependable.

When you pick up a book by Joanna Trollope, you know what to expect. She has been criticised for writing about middle-class middle-England. People talk about ‘Aga sagas’.

Relationships that hit trouble

While it’s true that her characters are mostly educated, reasonably well-off women in relationships with reasonably educated and well-off men. The relationships invariably come off the tracks and that makes for a good story.

I enjoyed Joanna Trollope fiction through my thirties, my forties and now – at fifty – I have just finished reading her latest book, The Other Family. It is a simple story and one that probably echoes in every family these days since few of us escape the emotion and complications of broken and second relationships. My sympathies went pretty much fifty fifty with the first and second wives of the late Richie and mothers of teenage daughters will find much to identify with in the portrayal of Tamsin, Dilly and Amy. Of all the characters, probably the most likeable is Richie’s son, Scott. But this is not a novel of strong characters – it is more an exploration of feeling and coping that will resonate with women of a certain age. As with all Joanna’s books, this is a quick and enjoyable read so arm yourself with coffee and biscuits, snuggle into your sofa, and enjoy.

See also City of Friends