"Daughters-in-law" by Joanna Trollope
Anthony and Rachel have lived a quaint, artistic life near the Suffolk coast raising their three sons. Their family has always been close knit and as the boys grow older and begin families of their own, their home continues to be the centre of their successful family.
But when Anthony and Rachel's youngest son marries and a third daughter-in-law enters the picture, the family dynamic begins to change. The children begin to develop lives independent of their parents and Rachel responds to her empty nest by alienating everyone in the family. As the family deals with a major crisis each characters' true self begins to emerge and the fragility of the family begins to show.
Daugthers-in-law is Joanna Trollope's 16th novel and a fine one. It explores the rocky relationship that often occurs between mothers and daughter-in-laws, showing that even those that look perfect are not what they seem. But this story isn't just about the women, it includes the role of the sons and husbands as well.
At first glance it may seem that there isn't much depth to the story but as it pulls you in you begin to see the layers to each character, the story and the complexity of the familial relationship. Trollope writes the quirks and intricacies of the relationship with knowledge and sympathy while at the same time allowing the reader to make the decisions and take sides as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong.
Daughters-in-law is a beautiful novel that explores the fragility of relationships within the large family dynamic. Women of all walks of life will appreciate Trollope's depth and understanding, and will find themselves wrapped up in this fresh story.