5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Patchwork Family - Love, Trust and Motherhood,
This review is from: The Patchwork Marriage (Paperback)
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I love Jane Green's earlier books - Bookends and Babyville being two of my favourites - but hadn't enjoyed her more recent ones as much, so I was hoping that The Patchwork Marriage would be (in my eyes) a return to form. Luckily, it is.
At the heart of the novel is the relationship between Andi and her husband Ethan. They love each other and are very happy, but things are complicated by Ethan's alcoholic ex-wife and his two daughters, Emily and Sophia. Teenage Emily, in particular, seems bent on setting herself against Andi at every turn, with challenging behaviour, rule-breaking and deliberate antagonism.
Andi, meanwhile, is desperate for a child of her own but is scared that she's too old to conceive. And as Ethan refuses to side with Andi against Emily, and ducks out of laying down `tough love' boundaries, Andi is left wondering if this patchwork marriage is enough on its own... and what the future holds.
I enjoyed this novel very much. The clash between step-mother and daughter was sympathetically portrayed from both sides, and grittily realistic. The characters are strong and I loved the California setting. If I had a criticism, it would be that the plot felt somewhat boggy in the centre; I felt the action slowed down and there were quite a few hand-wringing scenes as the characters agonised over a certain key plot element - I felt there was some unnecessary repetition there and wished that the plot would pep up.
Overall though, this is a good novel about contemporary families, and a frank take on motherhood. Enjoyably thought-provoking, this is meaty stuff.