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Daughters-in-Law Hardcover – 3 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385617984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385617987
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 14.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joanna Trollope has written several highly-acclaimed contemporary novels: The Choir, 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 Friday Nights. Other People's Children has been shown on BBC television as a major drama serial. Under the name of Caroline Harvey she writes romantic historical novels. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia's Daughters. Joanna was born in Gloucestershire and lives in London. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.

Product Description


'Supremely sure of her material and purpose, compassionate but never sentimental' --SUNDAY TIMES, Feb 2011

'Wonderfully observed and readable' --THE TIMES, Feb 2011

'The author's psychology, as always, is sound, the plotting secure and the pacing brisk and page-turning. Another winner' --DAILY MAIL, March 2011

'The legendary Ms Trollope triumphs yet again, with her latest slick of classy chick-lit' --HEAT, March 2011

'Sociologically and psychologically as observant as ever'
--THE SPECTATOR, March 2011

Book Description

Can a mother ever hand over her son to another woman?

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 122 people found the following review helpful By koink on 18 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
At her best Joanna Trollope is a captivating storyteller and here again she is at her best.

Here we are at Trollope Central: a family tale dealing with everyday life and familiar interpersonal conflicts. The subject is the reverberations in an extended family caused by the advent of three daughters-in-law in a tightly-knit family presided over by a controlling matriarch. Mum has ruled over hubbie and three sons and ensured that authority centres on her. Daughters-in-law intrude and stimulate everyone to seek individual freedom. The theme is the importance of that individual freedom.

In other hands this could be a dull and inconsequential tale. In Joanna Trollope's professional hands it becomes an enthralling story which, after the first 100 essentially scene-setting pages, grips you emotionally - often to a point just short of sentimentality - and drives you on to a nicely judged satisfying conclusion. You care about mum, dad, the three sons and three daughters-in-law and even the nicely drawn kids. You want them to achieve self-understanding and not to destroy the whole extended family structure as they do so. You are gripped by the many superbly constructed scenes that pepper the narrative. You admire the convincing dialogue. And you end by telling yourself that you have been entertained by a real pro.

This is Joanna Trollope at her best: an engaging tale, convincing characters, tightly-knit plot, clear theme, intelligent social and moral judgements and the sense you know where you are going because she knows exactly where she wants to take you - and has the skills to do it entertainingly.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Fruitbat on 12 April 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Linton on 9 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
I still love JT's writing style and found this a pleasant enough read, but I can't help feeling that her novels are becoming a bit generic churning out the same characters and situations again and again. I totally agree with the reviewer who said this book was essentially a repeat of 'Second Honeymoon' - with the same stock characters from this and several other of her novels:
1. Controlling mother figure, who -doesn't want to lose her power over the family
2. Affable husband who normally lets her get on with it, but occasionally puts his foot down.
3. Daughter in law who has toed the line up to now but seems on the point of rebellion.
4. Son torn between pleasing his wife and his mother
etc. etc.

Given the current problems facing most of us I found it quite hard to sympathise with these privileged characters who spent so much time worrying about nothing, instead of - like a large % of the population these days, worrying about losing their jobs/homes/standard of living. I think JT has lost touch a bit TBH - the only evidence of the downturn in this novel is that one character loses his internet business - but immediately walks into a well paid job in banking! In reality Sigrid would probably be worrying more about funding for her lab than about her in laws and Luke's graphic design business sounds exactly like the sort of enterprise which would quickly go under once companies start seriously cutting down on costs. In reality he'd probably be grateful for a well-heeled MIL ready to help him financially!

Overall I did quite like the novel - especially the bits involving Ralph and Petra, but I found myself getting a bit bored with some of the other characters - maybe a sense of deja vu? That has never happened to me with a JT novel before ...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. A. Llewellyn on 12 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
My children bought me this book for mother's day and I was a bit lukewarm about receiving it because her last novel was tedious. But I was simply gripped by this book from the first pages because Trollope is back on form and the family pictures she paints are second to none. This is an uncomfortable read and you find yourself identifying with the storyline and the characters that she writes about. Through the eyes of Trollope you can see your own family, yourself and indeed other people's families. This is a class act and a novel that is far removed from chick lit and yet it is also a novel that you want to slip into your suitcase for holidays. I found myself reflecting upon it when I wasn't reading it and wondering how the book would end. The novel paints a realistic picture of family life and you can't simply put it down until you finish the closing chapter.
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