Marrying the Mistress (by Joanna Trollope)

I've only recently started reading Joanna Trollope's novels; they're a little harder-hitting than I'm used to, but I enjoy her style and her characters seem realistic and warm.

'Marrying the Mistress' introduces us to Guy, a respectable judge and family man in his sixties. However he has a hidden life which his wife and adult children know nothing about - he has been having an affair for seven years with Merrion, a woman who is considerably younger than he is. She is a barrister who works with him.

Out of the blue, Guy decides that he is going to divorce his wife - whom he finds increasingly dull - and marry Merrion. However, neither of them realises just what effects this will have on Guy's sons Simon and Alan, and his grandchildren.

It's a fast moving story with several subplots that intertwine nicely, often movingly. I felt it was a very well-thought out novel that looks deeply into the hearts of modern men and women. I found myself re-considering lifestyles and assumptions as I read.

The ending was hopeful and reasonably positive - not the one I had expected, but it felt right, after working through some of the problems introduced in the novel.

Definitely recommended.

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