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Daughters-in-Law [Hardcover]

Joanna Trollope
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Mar 2011

Rachel has always loved being at the centre of her large family. She has fiercely devoted herself to her three sons all their lives,and continues to do so even now they are all grown up. They are, of course, devoted to her – she and Anthony, their father, hold the family together at their big, beautiful, ramshackle house near the wide, bird-haunted coast of Suffolk.

But when Luke, her youngest, gets married, Rachel finds that control is slipping away. Other people seem to be becoming more important to her children than she is, and she can no longer rely on her role as undisputed matriarch. A power struggle develops which can only end in unhappiness; her three daughters-in-law want to do things their own way, and so, to her grief, do her sons...

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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,561 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On top form 18 Mar 2011
By koink
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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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Slow Mover. 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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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too close to home? 16 Mar 2011
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
`Daughters-in-Law' should intuitively reach out and appeal to a hefty chunk of the novel buying demographic. Joanna Trollope knows her market, and I'm well in her sights. Settling cosily into this latest family album I realised that she could be writing about me. I began to recognise the whole scenario with a chilling presentiment. What a rich lode she has struck, writing instructively for her contemporaries, women who have had inevitably to yield authority over their closely reared sons; changing their tactics in order to fulfil secretly held family based ambitions; while busily trying to develop new wiles and strategies.

At first it seems the whole book will be about Rachel but no, this story fans out to her growing and extended family; uncovering hidden dynamics and ambitions, the steely inner strength of her collective Daughters-in-Law and the quiet good sense of her ornithological artist husband Anthony. So each generation of women readers will find something to touch and recognise in the lively Brinkley family who we get to know so quickly.

Joanna Trollope has a beguiling talent for creating perfectly written children to people her plots. For me the innocently unguarded sayings of little Mariella and the touching depictions of Kit the toddler grandson, Barney the baby were worth buying the book for alone. She gets them just right, providing light relief as well as required pathos to the story.

She also has a delicious turn of phrase - my copy of the book already has highlights and reminders marking pertinent observations that resonated rather too strongly for comfort. So I found something personally helpful and useful in them. A series of lessons to take heed of!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
Great and quick delivery
Published 8 days ago by MRS JANET E SMALLEY
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good read
Published 15 days ago by Inge Porter
2.0 out of 5 stars boring
I enjoyed most of J Trollope's earlier books but gave up only 1/4 way through this one. Tired of the irritating characters, trivial dialogue, thin plot and waiting for something -... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Roger
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Her usual standard, a light read with afterthoughts.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Linda V. Fogler
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Love Joanne Trollope normally not her best!
Published 1 month ago by J. Sagi
4.0 out of 5 stars for empty nesters everywhere
It may on the surface be about daughters- and sons-in-law, but at its heart it's about the mothers and the pain of no longer feeling needed or useful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bigsis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Published 2 months ago by mags
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story
I am a huge fan of Joanna Trollope, and I think this is one of her best books. I liked that part of the story is set in Newcastle, which is where I live. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elena47
5.0 out of 5 stars Mother of son
As a mother of 3 adult sons I found this story very relavent to my own life and I felt Rachael's emotions as to letting go and to learning to let them live their own lives but to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sue
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read.
Joanna Trollope books are all similar in that they are all a good read. I really enjoyed this one and as a Daughter In Law myself it gave me food for thought!
Published 4 months ago by H. Garner
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