I thought this book would be of particular interest with the given topic being that of the main character and her relationships with her sons and their wives, as I for one can relate firsthand to the difficulties involved in the relationship between a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law.
It is the first Joanna Trollope book I've read, and to be truthful I found it a bit hard going. The book jumps across the individual family members a lot, and although its well written I found it a bit hard to keep up with all the chopping and changing. I will say however, that she did capture the way the mother-in-law interferes in a "subtle" yet overbearing way, that to her sons she is merely trying to "help" with whatever is needed and basically control the situations going on around her, needing to know everything as it happens with nothing left private. Ultimately, she underlines the fact that no-one is ever good enough for her boys although you wouldn't hear her actually say it!
But when the daughters-in-law assert themselves and become the boys number one priority it is all set for change and we see a shift in loyalty from the male characters.
We also see support from the wives in the way that although their mother-in-law meddles in their lives, they try and see the good in her as they are mostly mothers themselves, and can partly understand why she is the way she is.
To summise, a good book that got better as you got further into it and an interesting read for all those out there who perhaps struggle with their own relationship with the mother-in-law!