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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review - A Desirable Residence by Madeline Wickham

The book is not very much like its cover. It has a bit of adultery for sure but it is more a light hearted read about relationships than anything else.

A family is in financial trouble. They have been able to take out two mortgages (I wish they would tell me the name of the Bank!) on an undertaking that they would sell one property as soon as possible. With the recession the sale of the property is not happening and adding to the tension and pressure between Liz and Jonathan. Actually its Jonathan who takes the pressure on full force whilst Liz seems to be drifting along, not actually being supportive to her husband. Seems very commonplace - where an attractive woman gets fed up with her long suffering husband who is not assertive enough or "masculine" enough for her. Invariably Liz gets involved with Marcus who has also reached the end of his tether with his wife Anthea. Anthea's only focus in life is to "get on" generally better than anyone else and with this view in mind she seeks to push her son Daniel who is already a gifted boy, to the utmost to win a scholarship at a prestigious college. She does not care how she gets there and who she hurts in the process as long as she gets it.

This story set in a small town of Silchester is a place where everyone knows everyone else's business. Marcus is the real estate agent for Liz and Jonathan's property and in turn Jonathan is the brilliant tutor who will teach Marcus and Anthea's son and coach him for his scholarship exam. Add to this a disgruntled 14 year old Alice Liz and Jonathan's daughter who has started to rebel as well as turning her nose up at anything and everything her parents do or say.

The characters are all linked to each other by a series of almost coincidences. Liz and Jonathan's house is rented by Ginny and Piers who befriend Alice. Alice is overwhelmed by the kindness and friendliness shown by the couple and feels that they are so "hip" and "cool" in comparison to her own parents whom she thinks are old and staid. I had a feeling of deja vu at this point! Doesn't every teenager think at some stage that their parents are downright old and staid??

This book dealt mainly for me with relationships. One the deteriorating relationship between husband and wife in two marriages, and the other the breakdown in communication between a 14 year old and her parents. The difficulty of this teenager to find herself and to fit in was also apparent in the story. Add to this the pressures put on a rather simple, naive boy like Daniel by a bullying over ambitious mother. These form the main part of the story.

It was a very quick read for me - read mainly whilst waiting for appointments today!! The font was extremely easy to read for me and this is always a plus point for me. A simple story but with quite a few pointers for lots of us. We are all guilty at some stage of being over ambitious where children are concerned, maybe some of us take partners for granted, some of us may overlook warning signs where teenagers are concerned. This book would be an eye opener for us all.


Blodeuedd said...

I know this name..might have seen it under new books in the library catalogue, must have a look :D

Amused said...

I've had a hard time getting into some of her books in the past but this one sounds pretty entertaining!

Kathleen said...

I haven't heard of this author or book before. I do like books that probe the meaning of relationships between people so I think I would enjoy this one.

Lisa said...

I have such a hard time reading books with adultery as one of the big themes (too close in my own life I guess, although not me, thank heavens!). On the other hand, books about marriages that are struggling always fascinate me.