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The Other Family Hardcover – 18 Feb 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st ed edition (18 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385616147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385616140
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 392,539 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


"Clever and thoughtful" (Tatler)

"She writes as observantly as ever. There are always those brilliant brief glimpses of some detail which ring wonderfully true" (The Spectator)

"Highly involving, deeply humane." (Evening Standard)

"A rich, satisfying and - ultimately - uplifting read. It's the work of an author at the top of her game" (City A.M.)

"Trollope is shrewdly observant of human interaction" (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

A topical and utterly compelling contemporary novel from the number one bestselling author.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
I had my brand new copy of `The Other Family' with me on a journey home to the West Country last week. Because of the hard winter weather my connection was missed but I didn't even mind. I was content to be involved in the lives of Chrissie and her girls, Scott and Margaret; their dilemmas had me thrilled and caught up with how it would all work out.

All around me people were jabbing at their phones, anxiously explaining they were `on a train' whereas I was calm and happily deep in this latest human-interest story. It is a read all at once type of tale, really quickly appreciated, ensuring total immersion and guaranteed satisfaction.

A sweeping tale of consequences, past actions catching up with the present day, real people rather than the previously imagined stereotype ciphers appearing and having to be assimilated into the newly drawn up picture of a shattered family. It takes a child to break through the hedges of mistrust, misplaced loyalty and disappointment.

I especially enjoyed the times spent in Newcastle and how JT introduces us to life there is it is today, so anyone who knows that area would find this particularly fascinating. The constantly evolving music business with performers, their instruments, agents, past musical history; all contribute to the lively mood.

Three perhaps spoiled daughters, an edgy mother who never quite got her relationship with their father sorted, an ex wife who hasn't moved on very far emotionally and a son who steps out of the shadows. Friends who are determined to help, offer solutions; they all add up to a strong cast list for a challenging rearrangement of attitudes and expectations. Gutsy stuff indeed!
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142 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been reading Joanna Trollope's novels for twenty years or so. Since I don't live in the UK, I usually buy them when I'm visiting or have them sent to from AmazonUK, as I did this one. I normally don't read the other reviews until after I've written mine, but I did this time. I was rather surprised that the other two reviews were one star. I thought this was one of her better novels.

The reason I like Trollope's writing are her strong characterisations. Not much of a plot writer; in most cases, Trollope's strong point is her fleshing out of all her characters, even the minor ones. This is not something to take lightly; I have read way too many novels where the main characters are well-written, but the supporting ones are just background. Not so in Trollope's writing. It's a difficult thing for a reviewer to make sense of and be able to explain in a review. But I was interested in all her characters and what happened to them.

The plot of "The Other Family" is fairly standard - a man leaves his first wife and child (without divorcing his wife) and goes off to live with another woman,with whom he fathers three daughters. His untimely death reveals the legal ramifications of his actions, and BOTH his families are put into some tight situations. There are no easy solutions in Trollope's story, but she writes with equal interest to all six of the main characters and the ten or so supporting characters, one of whom is a cat. I may not have liked all her characters but I sure was interested til the end in what happened to them. And I think that's the mark of a good novel.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jill Besterman on 4 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The villain of this piece is Richie who is dead at the start of the book but who apparently walked out on his wife of many years and their teenage son and moved south to be with the much younger Chrissie without a second thought. They have three daughters and a superficially successful life together but he had never divorced his wife or seemed to consider it necessary. His death leaves his two families in limbo, each unable to cope with the existence of the other. Richie is a one-dimensional character which is a shame as presumably he was resposible for the attitudes of his family. The northern family, mother and son, are the more likeable, the London "wife" and daughters are whiny and demanding and very irritating though the youngest daughter, Amy, has possibilities and does come to terms with having a step-brother. I wish that Ms Trollope had spent less time in the long dreary run-up to this point, and chosen to develop the story of the way that the various family members moved on.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By cowpatch on 18 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
I always find Joanna Trollope slightly hard going, as her characters and dialogue are so helplessly and self-consciously middle-class. But there is little that's believable about her latest offering. The story itself is fine, but skates over the more brutal truths- the musician, Richie, who had the two families, is let off the hook very easily for having entirely abandoned his then-14 year old son, and the ramifications of his casual cruelty are barely discussed. The second "wife", Chrissie, is an insubstantial list of unpleasant traits- self-pitying, self-rightoeous, and whining, so it's easy to see how she's raised three equally dire daughters. So far, it's just about bearable. But when Trollope attempts to bring said daughters to life through dialogue, it's like listening to a Tory MP trying to adopt street language. It's hopeless. Is a 22 year old who works in an estate agency likely to exclaim "heavens!" Is her sister likely to say "I shan't want to"? These are the exclamations of upper-class home counties ladies, not young, streetwise girls who have spent all their lives in Highgate.
The other characters- Ritchie's first wife, Margaret, and Scott, her son, are infinitely more well-realised, rounded and believable. It's as though the author wrote a book about them, decided it wasn't enough, and welded on a bunch of appalling North London caricatures that it's impossible to like or care about. Heavens! I shan't bother again.
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