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Description - Girl from the South by Joanna Trollope

Set partly in London and partly in America, GIRL FROM THE SOUTH follows the fortunes of a small group of the young and the single - the children, in fact, of sixties swingers. They have, it seems, infinite opportunity, but are bedevilled by indecision, by the breadth of choice, by the inflexibility of tradition, by the consequences of their parents' careless marital history - and by being still dazzled by the nineteenth-century vision of the sublimity of romantic love. The men can't commit, the girls can't reconcile independence and maternity, the rules seem to be vanishing. And time, of course, is passing...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780747557999
ISBN-10: 0747557993
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 4-Feb-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Girl from the South by Joanna Trollope

UK Kirkus Review » Gillon Stokes leaves Charleston, South Carolina to take up a job as an art historian in London. At nearly 30, she has retained her close links with her family - her southern belle grandmother Sarah, her mother, Martha, who rebelled against her family's expectations to study psychiatric medicine in New York but returned to practise in Charleston, and her prosperous siblings Ashley and Cooper. It is Ashley's announcement, to her family's delight, that she is pregnant which precipitates Gillon's decision to leave for England. Newly arrived in London, Gillon literally bumps into Tilly, the features editor of an arts magazine, at a party and ends up moving in with Tilly and her wildlife photographer boyfriend Henry. The world into which Gillon is sucked is very different, both emotionally and culturally, from that of South Carolina. The women of her family, even her rebellious mother, a child of the 1960s, have sought their family's approval in finding husbands and have been generally contented in their rather unexciting choices. In London, her new friends have apparently limitless choice of partners but find themselves burdened almost to self-destruction by the fear of making the wrong decision, of not being happily married. Joanna Trollope writes with equal sureness about the familiar setting of London and the more exotic location of Charleston. Her sharp observation of details, particularly architecture and objects, ground the story in believable reality. Though the plot focuses on Gillon's generation, Trollope shows them, particularly Gillon herself, in the context of earlier generations; both Sarah and Martha are strong, well-rounded characters. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The prolific Trollope (Next of Kin, 2001, etc.) spins another engaging tale about life's twists and turns, occasioned as much by character as circumstance, and the ways family ties both help and hinder. Since college, art historian Gillon Stokes has alternately fled and returned to Charleston, South Carolina, drawn by love for her relatives but finding them constraining once she's actually there. When she learns that sister Ashley is pregnant, Gillon decides to leave Charleston again and accept a temporary art conservation job in London so she can avoid perfect Ashley's sure-to-be-perfect pregnancy. Meanwhile in London, photographer Henry Atkins, in a professional rut, feels ambivalent about live-in girlfriend Tilly's assertion that it's time for a commitment. After Gillon moves into a spare room in the apartment he and journalist Tilly share, he's only too happy to accept her casual invitation to visit her family in Charleston. The Stokeses are Old Charleston, with all the privileges and baggage that position entails, and Henry falls in love with the family, the city, and Gillon. Back for Ashley's delivery, Gillon is troubled by his uncritical acceptance of her kin and her own betrayal of Tilly, who treated her kindly. While our American heroine learns more about her inability ever to leave home completely ("There's nowhere else that I feel so vulnerable. And because of that, so alive"), English Tilly also examines her life. Realizing that Henry's not coming back, she becomes closer to her divorced mother, appreciating the matter-of -fact-comfort that Margot offers. The author deftly sketches her characters' situations with her usual hardheaded but empathetic understanding of the way the world works for men and women. Vintage Trollope, fluidly and accessibly written as always, now with an American twist. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Joanna Trollope

Author of eagerly awaited and sparklingly readable novels often centred around the domestic nuances and dilemmas of life in contemporary England, Joanna Trollope is also the author of a number of historical novels and of BRITANNIA'S DAUGHTERS, a study of women in the British Empire. In 1988 she wrote her first contemporary novel, THE CHOIR, and this was followed by A VILLAGE AFFAIR, A PASSIONATE MAN, THE RECTOR'S WIFE, THE MEN AND THE GIRLS, A SPANISH LOVER, THE BEST OF FRIENDS, NEXT OF KIN, OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN and, most recently, MARRYING THE MISTRESS. She lives in Gloucestershire.

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