Daughters-in-Law (by Joanna Trollope)

I've been reading and enjoying Joanna Trollope's books for many years now. I've re-read many of them, but am always pleased when a new one is published. I received this one for Christmas, and have just read it in a couple of days.

'Daughters-in-Law' opens with the wedding of Luke to the rather gorgeous Charlotte. Luke is the youngest of three sons, and Charlotte is also the youngest of her family. They each bring certain expectations to their marriage, and have to learn to adjust to each other, and grow up somewhat.

Rachel is the lynchpin of the family. She and her artist husband Anthony put everything into raising their three sons, and are pleased that they have married three very different girls. The love to welcome them all to their home, but they have an extra special relationship with Petra, the somewhat vague and totally accepting wife if their middle son Ralph, who is mother to two rather delightful little boys.

Despite Rachel and Anthony's nest being empty, Ralph and his family live nearby, and their eldest son Edward and his wife and daughter visit regularly. However, Charlotte, despite being the newest member of the group, really feel like getting drawn into the bosom of the family...

I could empathise with pretty much all points of view in this book, both from the parent and the child perspective. There were a lot of characters but it was pretty easy to remember them all; I loved the distinctive personalities of the three daughters-in-law, as well as gradually learning their secrets and seeing a glimpse into their relationships.

At one point I was worried that it would all disintegrate, so was pleased with how it ended; it could have been a bit trite and too tidy, and perhaps it was too neat for real life. But Joanna Trollope is a skilled writer, and it seemed eminently believable, so I very much enjoyed this book.

Overall it was a gentle and satisfying read, with my only slight criticism being that it was perhaps a tad slow-moving in places.

Definitely recommended.

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