Totally self absorbed Clara crashes into Lorraine's car - the car is damaged badly and Clara takes on the family
lock, stock and babies and all as she feels at that moment that there is nothing else that could be done as the family was (a) homeless and (b) used the car as their sleeping/living space.
Fast forward a couple of weeks - Lorraine is ill, seriously ill in hospital and her no good husband realizes that he is on to a gold mine with Clara. He vanishes taking with him as much as he could leaving behind three children including a baby and a grumpy, grasping mother in law who only wants to take as much as she can, when she can. Clara 43 years old living an orderly, regular life, who has never handled children is thrown into the deep end. Knowing that Social Services would take over if she did call on them she never does. She enjoys the experience of motherhood second hand, she gets exasperated and angry like mothers all do, but she does box on.
At the end of the day Lorraine realizes that a comfortable, settled lifestyle is becoming attractive to her children and that she is going to lose them if she does not get back on her feet and claim them. This was the part that was sad, because for Lorraine there was no simple way of cutting Clara out of the children's lives. She was brutal and Clara found it a horrible loss specially the loss of the baby from her life. After everything that Clara did not just for Lorraine's children, but even tracking down the lost husband, to taking over the grasping mother in law - Lorraine just wanted out and there was a lot of resentment on her side when she saw how attached the children were to Clara.
The book showed all variations of human behaviour - love, greed, resentment, anger, animosity, anxiety, humour in fact everything that having such a mixed bunch of characters would involve. An interesting read.