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When the last of your children has flown the nest, will there be time for a second honeymoon?
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. 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, Marrying the Mistress, Girl from the South and, most recently, Brother & Sister. Joanna Trollope was born in Gloucestershire and lives in London. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.
After recent novels like Girl from the South, it is a relief to have Trollope return to her trademark British milieu. Broken-hearted when Ben, her 22-year-old youngest (and last) child at home moves out, Edie can't be the friend and partner her husband, Russell, wants after all their years devoted to child rearing. Then, one by one, her children's lives fray, and they begin to trickle back home at the same time that her acting career revives with the lead in Ibsen's Ghosts-and her young costar, Lazlo, moves in, too. But the children and Edie find that you can't go home again, and Edie realizes that she's ready to move on with her life, too, as an actor, not as a caregiver. Trollope's plot examines the different stages of contemporary life and confronts some of the difficult realities: twentysomethings returning home and still dependent on their parents, women trying to reconcile babies and careers, men dealing with women who earn more than they do, and all the complications these engender. While the ending is less ambiguous and neater than in her earlier novels, this is still vintage Trollope, replete with messy relationships and chaotic family life. No one is better at conveying the manners and mores of middle-class Britain.-Francine Fialkoff, Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Over 16 novels, Trollope has explored a plethora of the modern family's permutations; her 17th is a tender, funny ode to empty nest syndrome. Edie Boyd is a middle-aged, part-time actress and London mother of three whose youngest is packing up and moving out. Husband Russell is delighted with the chance to rediscover and retune their marriage, but Edie can't quite face life (or herself) without being "Mum" on a daily basis. Not to worry: the children almost simultaneously fall prey to a series of mishaps and financial troubles, and Edie is delighted when her wish to have her brood back is suddenly granted. At this point, the transformations one expects in a flown coop begin to take hold, as does the comedy. Embedded in the novel's sometimes soap opera turns, which cut expertly from the children's points of view to Edie's, are Trollope's somehow insightful takes on the perennial career vs. child-rearing dilemma. The struggles of Edie, of Russell, and of children Rosa, Matt, Ben and their various partners are deftly rendered in the dialogue that dominates the book; it has a good pace and marks out the narrative decisively. The things her flawed but lovable characters say to each other, in fact, save Trollope's tidily concluded latest from feeling too much like chick lit for the PBS set. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"The author's witty manipulation of her characters recalls the other Trollope, although there is nothing Victorian about her style... perfectly pitched dialogue" * The Times * "One of the finest chroniclers of the way we live now" * Independent on Sunday * "Trollope has perfectly caught the angst of the empty nest... the ebb and flow of relationships is brilliantly handled" * The Observer * "The queen of the domestic dilemma... observant and empathetic" * The Sunday Times * "Trollope has always written well and convincingly about property. It's her refusal to divorce her characters' inner lives from the accumulated stuff of their outer ones that makes the best of it so compelling" * The Daily Telegraph *