I have always loved Joanne Trollope's books and though some reviews are rather skeptical about it, she does write from the heart and one can easily identify her characters as they are very often the people around you. When this book came out I knew it would be years before I ever got my hands on it. I checked online and even the Melbourne library had it only on order so I never thought I would have the good fortune of getting to it early.
The flight from Singapore to Melbourne is almost eight hours and lately I have found it difficult to cope with this long, long flight. This time it flew! literally..... Daughters in law was one of the audio books on offer and it was such a treat.
Rachel and Anthony have three sons - Rachel is the archetypal matriarch. She still feels that she and Anthony should have an equal place in their son's lives despite all three of them being married. She meets her match in Charlotte who is the spoiled baby of her family with a very decisive mind of her own. Charlotte knows what she wants and she does not mind in the least that Luke is inconvenienced, troubled or upset how his family is being put into second place as against Charlotte's own mother. Ralph's wife Petra has been the family pet - almost orphaned when she met him she has been adopted by his parents and much loved. She is also one of those who has gracefully given in over the years and Siegfried the eldest daughter in law has also hidden her own feelings of resentment and given in for the greater good of all. Charlotte however sets the cat amongst the pigeons and gets everyone to sit up and do their own thing.
Ralph's financial problems becomes the catalyst that involves the whole family. Edward naturally tries to help with fixing a job interview which Ralph succeeds at. The problems for all start from there with Ralph having to move to London and Petra who was expected to just move with him, digging in her heels and staying put. Added to that is that Petra finds a male friend, platonic and easy, which is not understood by the entire family as it is completely out of character for Petra to act thus. Rising from this and adding to it is Charlotte conceiving after two months of marriage and Siegfried's uncertainty about her own future.
Rachel is not tactful or diplomatic and tends to shoot her mouth all the time. Anthony is the quiet one, favoured by the whole family as he sees things for what they are and specifically that it is not his business anymore as to how things should be done. Each son is different and each daughter in law is unique. The characters are so beautifully described and each so different that you think that in this story the entire unity of the family will be lost. It does not happen because the unit is cohesive and they realise that they should be working together not against each other. Truths will have to be spoken and it may be blunt but everyone rallies together.
A family saga that analyses relationships and how one has to live with one another, none of us are an island however much we may want to be - even for a little bit!!! I loved the book - from a personal point of view - it did show the importance of all mothers!!!!
Am in Melbourne now and after a big shop at the local market, I sneaked in a five minute visit to the library. Have come back with four books so in between massive amounts of time spent washing and cooking, reading is the other thing I do. Today is a gloomy day so ideal weather for a book.