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Merrion Palmer has been Judge Guy Stockdale's mistress for the last seven years and his wife and two grown-up sons know absolutely nothing about her. Up until now, Guy and Merrion have enjoyed a blissfully, uncomplicated relationship in stolen moments in Merrion's flat, and to the rest of the world, Guy has played the part of model husband, father and grandfather. But now the time has come for things to change. Guy has become conscious of wasted years and he wants to share his relationship with Merrion with the world. He wants, dammit, to marry her. Yet he is quite unprepared for the storm that will follow ...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552998727
ISBN-10: 0552998729
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 21mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Black Swan
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 16-Dec-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » A family is thrown into turmoil by the announcement of 62-year-old judge Guy Stockdale, father and grandfather, that he is leaving Laura, his wife of 40 years to live with and eventually marry a barrister half his age. But faced with the loss of security and status, Laura resorts to jungle tactics. A not unfamiliar situation in real, as well as fictional, life. But it is Trollope's juxtaposing of high emotion with the mundane which gives depth and pathos to the big issues she tackles. It is in the family of the eldest son Simon that we see it most conspicuously: the endless minutiae of their daily lives - the never finished washing-up, picking-up, tidying-up, making and consuming of meals - that become a metaphor for their equally desperate attempts to control the chaos of their emotional lives. This is Trollope at her best, making us look all around a deadlocked predicament - which could so easily affect so many of us. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Another splendidly nuanced tale of contemporary family life from the always expert Trollope (Other Peoples Children, 1999, etc.).After a seven-year secret liaison with Merrion Palmer, a clever London lawyer, 62-year-old Guy Stockdale, a distinguished judge with an irreproachable reputation, has decided to leave his wife, Laura, and marry his much younger mistress. (As usual, Trollope puts a fresh spin on a hackneyed situation by making the husband rather than the wife the protagonist.) Guys decision prompts all concerned to question old loyalties, the past, and the meaning of love itself. Laura, who has felt for years that she paid too high a price in marrying, refuses to sell the family home, where shes created a beautiful garden, and insists that her eldest and favorite son, Simon, a public-interest lawyer, act as her counsel. Simon, married to Carrie and father of Jack, Rachel, and Emma, is torn between his loyalty to his parents and the needs of his own family. Meanwhile, younger brother Alan, gay and presently unattached, worries that their mother is asking too much of the already overworked Simon. And the three grandchildren resent the strain Laura is imposing on their parents. As the legal proceedings get underway, Carrie, angry at Laura's obstinacy and dependency on Simon, invites Merrion to meet the family. The visit is a success, and the rest of the Stockdales are reconciled to Guys choice. But Laura continues to be difficult, Simon remains torn, and Jack, hurting after his first high-school romance ends, seeks comfort from his grandfather. Merrion and Guy feel the demands of kin complicating what had seemed a simple and perfect love. Masterful storytelling and memorable characters combine to give us a wise and gently truthful take on a highly charged subject. (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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