30/03/2003

A Friend of the Family (by Titia Sutherland)

I've only read two of Titia Sutherland's novels, prior to this one. She's only written five or six, all of which are now out of print. I can't find anything about her life on the Internet. Yet her books are delightful - warm, character-driven and very well-written. I don't know why her popularity was so short-lived.

'A Friend of the Family', which I managed to get hold of second-hand, is about Kate and Mark who are temporarily separated. Kate would like Mark back, and their young son Jake longs for their reconciliation.

Into Kate's life come the cheerful, bumbling Roly and the devious, attractive Niall. Roly seems like a wonderful, reliable and platonic friend; however his feelings for Kate are much stronger than she realises, turning to a form of paranoia when she lets him know that she sees him only as a good friend.

There are some dramatic moments, and a very good portrayal of Jake, if a little melodramatic in places. I thought the ending was encouraging and happy, even if there was rather too neat a solution to everyone's problems. But all in all, a good light read. Recommended.

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