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Description - Next of Kin by Joanna Trollope

The land running down to the River Dean has been farmed by the Meredith family for generations. Robin Meredith bought the farm from his father, just before he married his wife Caro and now he and his brother Joe work on the land. But now Caro has died, as much as a mystery to the family as she was when she arrived twenty years ago, and the whole family feels her loss acutely, none more so than her adopted daughter Judy. Into this unhappy family comes Zoe, Judy's London friend, an outsider with an independent spirit and a disturbing directness. Everyone underestimates Zoe's power as a catalyst for change as the realities behind the seeming idyll of a rural community become ever clearer..

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552997003
ISBN-10: 0552997005
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 19mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Black Swan
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Sep-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Next of Kin by Joanna Trollope

US Kirkus Review » The popular Trollope ("Marrying the Mistress", 2000, etc.) again deftly profiles ordinary men and women learning to adapt as their lives are disrupted by change and loss. Life on the Meredith family's two farms has been pretty predictable. They're not the most beautiful spreads in England, but they've offered solace to Robin, who runs Tideswell, and younger brother Joe, along with parents Harry and Dilys, who farm Dean's Place. But this seeming serenity is, as usual, only superficial. When Caro, Robin's American wife, dies from a brain tumor, the thin fabric of the Merediths' lives disintegrates. Judy, adopted daughter of Caro and Robin, is angry with her father because she feels he mistreated her mother, seeming cool and indifferent. Robin has his own sorrows, as well as financial worries, and Joe, long depressed, feels that with Caro gone he can no longer escape his demons. The pace of events accelerates when Zoe, a photographer who shares a flat with Judy in London, comes down for a weekend, then moves in and becomes Robin's lover. Soon he's telling her about his loveless marriage, and she's also befriending Dilys-a friendship that comforts the crusty matriarch when Joe commits suicide, Harry has an accident, and all learn that they may have to leave the farm. Robin has large debts too (farming is not cheap), and Trollope makes a quiet, heartfelt plea for those who love the land and till it. The Merediths must adapt if they're to survive, Dilys ruefully concludes: change, together with loss and growth, is life. This would all be more compelling if Caro and Zoe didn't both seem more like necessary plot catalysts than memorable characters; Caro's influence on the Merediths never becomes clear, and Zoe is a very sketchy figure. Still, despite its flaws: a refreshingly unsentimental story about people trying, not always successfully, to do what's right. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Joanna Trollope

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.

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