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Brother & Sister [Paperback]

Joanna Trollope
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well researched June 26 2004
By A Customer
Joanna Trollope's new book deals with a subject of which I've had some experience. I'm a birth mother who's daughter found me 10 years ago. Having read five or six of Trollope's novels, I was interested to see how she would handle this topic. She's done the research. The adoption triad is complex and Trollope recognizes this. Cora and Carole's reactions to being found and meeting their children rang true for me.
The story lost power when it shifted back and forth to Steve's office staff. These people weren't interesting and were an annoying distraction from the main topic.
Those readers who have an interest in, or are involved in, the adoption triad may find this a good read. It's not hard to relate to each member's postion. Trollope has succeeded in showing adoption and the adoption reunion in a realistic way.
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4.0 out of 5 stars About adoption, the need to know Oct. 17 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nathalie and David, the two main characters, each delivered by a different mother, have been lovingly raised by their adoptive parents. As they reach adulthood, with their own partners and family to raise, a gnawing, persistent thought starts to take shape in Nathalie's mind. Her feelings influence her brother David too and the search for their respective biological families begins.

This comes almost as a surprise to their partners and adoptive parents too, to whom they've have always vowed a disinterest about their origins, thinking that their present, in itself quite serene and fulfilling, was all that mattered.

An emotional roller coaster ensues, involving everybody. Also, will Nathalie and David find an answer to their craving desire TO KNOW and will they eventually understand/accept it? Buy this lovely piece of fiction, which in any case I'm sure reflects many real stories out there, and find out.

This is the 4th book I read by J. Trollope and, as usual, I've liked it very, very much. The story is delivered with compassion and understanding, the narrative makes it a page-turner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My Real Parents May 11 2004
When my daughter was little and would get angry with my wife or I, she'd often say, "I want my real parents." As a person who had adoptive grandparents, I found this subject to be fascinating. Trollope's book answers the question about just who our real parents are. If there is a lesson, what I got was that our real parents are the ones who give us love while we're growing up.
The issues in the book are riveting. How our sense of family can be threatened by change and impacts each member of the group shines through. I found it particularly significant that as David and Nathalie find birth mothers Carole and Cora, the reality of these women is a shock to how they had been imagined. Equally fascinating is the dynamic within Carole's family as her husband Connor is supportive and son Martin short circuits finding that he is suddenly not the oldest of his mother's sons.
The characters are all deep. However, the story does take unexpected turns that like an unwanted half brother were not entirely welcome. Nathalie's live-in boyfriend Steve's affair seemed strange to me. We are introduced to him being a stable and supportive mate who then experiences lethal doses of insecurity. The same is true for David's wife Marnie whose insecurity over David's connection to his adoptive sister Nathalie causes anxieties and odd behavior. That the search then results in the ultimate schism of the bond between brother and sister is even less welcome. Satisfying elements of the story are with the adoptive Lynne and her working through her feelings and the scene with son David where he confirms his bond with his adoptive mother. I also enjoyed the exploration into Cora's world and the social situation that brought her to give up her baby.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Major Disappointment May 2 2004
Joanna Trollope wrote 16 books before this one, and I have read every last one with intense admiration. Some were better than others, in my view, but all were distinctive and brilliant.
Brother and Sister, to this reader, was a terrible letdown. The premise is sound: Adoption and its aftermath lasts well into the adults lives of those adopted and those who gave up their children for whatever good reasons. Well and good. And when adult adoptees seek their birth parents, everyone around them is affected as much as they are. This is perfectly in line with Trollope's ongoing theme in all of her novels--that people are not islands, that the behavior of one person can affect, for ill or good, a wide circle of others. Trollope has embroidered on that theme throughout her ouvre, often brilliantly.
Why, then, did this book leave me so unmoved? Perhaps because the main characters--the two adoptees, Nathalie and her adopted brother David--were so unlikeable. Perhaps because their significant others were equally unlikeable. Perhaps because not one character in the book, with the exception of two young children, meant anything to me as a reader. Nathalie is the one who begins it, who suddenly, in her 30s, feels the driving need to find her birth mother. I could relate to that--but not to the fact that she selfishly forces her brother David, who does NOT have the same need--to join her in the search and find his own roots.
The book goes on and on and on and on as we learn who the birth parents are, and their stories, and see the inevitable havoc that the searches wreak upon everybody in sight. There are no happy endings, no ecstatic reunions on Oprah. Funnily enough, while reading this book, I spoke with an adoptive mother whose son had just found his birth mother, and everybody was ecstatic.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting journey...
What happens when an adult man and woman suddenly decide to seek out their biological mothers? Joanna Trollope introduces us to a wide cast of characters in this novel, and... Read more
Published on July 3 2004 by Victory Silvers
4.0 out of 5 stars Important
If you or a person close to you is adopted this book may assist in understanding how difficult it can be. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by Katieq
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Different
When you upset the delicacy of a family, you never know what the outcome will be so when Nathalie and David agree to search for their birth mothers, the applecart turns upside down... Read more
Published on June 14 2004 by Haley Parnham
4.0 out of 5 stars Good news: Trollope back at her best with pen in fine fettle
Whew, what a relief that this is a good novel, the sort of quality experience I expect from Trollope since her last novel (Girl from the South) was inferior. Read more
Published on June 11 2004 by KatPanama
4.0 out of 5 stars �We don�t belong to nobody in the end; nobody but ourselves"
When Natalie and David decide to find their birth parents, the effects of their decision echoes outward like ripples in a pool of water. Read more
Published on May 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The ripples of adoption
British author Trollope writes sharp-witted novels of middle-class families in domestic crisis. Her characters are too complex to be entirely likable - or dislikable, and her plots... Read more
Published on April 29 2004 by Lynn Harnett
4.0 out of 5 stars "The abandoned baby lives inside each adoptee."
In this tension-filled domestic drama, Joanna Trollope shows how the adoption of two children, now adults, have affected all the families involved--the birth mothers and their... Read more
Published on April 23 2004 by Mary Whipple
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