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MARRYING THE MISTRESS (AMERICAN) Hardcover – 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: VIKING BOOKS (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670891509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670891504
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,176,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy R. Katz on Aug. 19 2002
Format: Hardcover
Previous to now I resisted reading Joanna Trollope's books although I don't know why. Then a friend recommended Marrying the Mistress and now I have found a new author to explore further. In the tradition of Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher, Trollope introduces us to ordinary people who are faced with changes and new challenges in their lives. And like Binchy and Pilcher, Trollope's characters become like family members who we come to appreciate and love.
Marrying the Mistress begins near London when Judge Guy Stockdale announces to his wife of 40 yeas that he wants a divorce. Not only does he want a divorce but he has already made plans to marry a woman, a 31 year old lawyer, who has been his mistress for the last seven years. As readers we now begin to see this revelation from different perspectives, the judges, his wife Laura, their two sons, a daughter-in law, grandchildren and finally Guy's mistress, Merrion. While sides are drawn over this dilemma, most of the characters would agree that the mistress is quite lovely. But as the plot develops and Guy's wife, at first pitiful and dependent becomes more assured leaving the reader to wonder what will happen next. When a series of startling events occur we watch as these people's lives are further disrupted and the changes in their lives have far reaching consequences.
Joanna Trollope, a resident of England and a descendant of Anthony Trollope, has a keen ear and eye not only for characters, but for their homes and surroundings areas. When the story takes place in Guy and Laura's suburban home we feel as if we are there and can see Laura's wonderful garden and the their dogs barking. And when Guy first meets Merrion during a train ride to London, we are seated next to them and privy to this meeting.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who is familiar with Joanna Trollope's work knows that a theme she has visited in the majority of her books is the rippling effect of one's supposedly private actions on others. In her world, no man is an island, and everybody is ultimately responsible for the effects of his or her life decisions on those who are near and dear.
That's the premise behind "Marrying the Mistress," the story of a dignified and esteemed judge, Guy Stockwell, who announces out of the blue that he intends to divorce his wife of 40 years, Laura, and marry his heretofore secret mistress of 7 years, Merrian. The shockwaves from this decision, which the judge and Merrian had considered very private and personal, affect everyone in their lives, whether they want it to or not.
Thus, Laura, the self-centered, clinging, deliberately obtuse "wronged wife," becomes even more annoying, and drops all of her problems in the lap of her son Simon, a lawyer in his 30s with a wife and three children of his own. Laura plays the guilt card so successfully that Simon becomes hopelessly entwined in his parents' troubles. He cannot extricate himself, and this in turn puts dangerous pressure on his marriage. His wife, Carrie, feels that she now has to fight her mother-in-law for Simon's love and attention--and she is right. Carrie and Simon's older two children, teenaged Jack and Rachel, are terribly affected by their parents' unhappiness, and their younger sister starts to suffer from days-long headaches.
Simon's gay brother Alan, who has finally met the love of his life, just wants everybody to be happy so he can bask in the glow of his new relationship. His role is to continually smooth things over, only to have the "smoothing" rejected or ignored.
Merrion, the mistress, is much younger than Guy.
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Format: Paperback
This book give a complexity of how family and community are affected by Guy's announcement to leave his wife of forty years for a much younger woman. Laura Stockdale, the wife, has become her husband's shadow leaning on her married son Simon at his family's disapproval. Her neighbor Wendy encourages her to get on with her life but she refuses and is determined to make Guy pay for what he has done. Simon, the older son, lets his parents' breakup become an obsession which nearly destroys his family. Alan, Simon's other son, takes the breakup well.
Merrion Palmer, Guy's mistress of seven years, never had a real sense of what makes up a family. Despite her strong characteristcs, she yearns for a male dominant figure. Merrion grew up with her mother and grandmother. She was too young when her father died and her stepfather hardly exists.
This is the first novel I read of Ms. Trollope's and I have to say I was very impressed with her style of writing. The relationship between Guy and Merrion isn't sexually candid, but it does detail why married spouses do have affairs.
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Format: Hardcover
Resident Judge Guy Stockdale decides to end his relationship with his wife Laura after four decades of marriage. The sixtyish Guy plans to wed his mistress of seven years Merrion, who happens to be about thirty years junior to the Judge and is even younger than his children.

Obviously his wife is stunned by his announcement. However, it is his sons and their wives and his grandchildren who react by what they perceive is the family patriarch's callous action of thinking with the wrong body part. One particular son, Simon, finds himself being pulled in several conflicting directions. He does not know whether to emotionally support his mother or his father, but realizes he has no option but to help both of them. His wife wants him to do neither as she does not want to "fund" her in-law's folly. Worse yet, Simon and his children find the former mistress turned fiancee charming to the point Simon would not mind filling his father's shoes. The aftermath of Guy's proclamation is just starting to evolve and the impact it makes on his close circle of relatives is just beginning to emerge.

Joanna Trollope is known for her deep thinking look at middle class England. Her latest novel carries the author's trademark of complex problems encircled by conflicting emotions swirling about real people. What makes this tale work is the fact that Merrion is not a gold digger, but is a spirited nice person and the fact that Ms. Trollope does not provide gift-wrapped solutions with a bow on top. Anyone who enjoys a poignant relationship drama by one of the sub-genre,s best will want to read MARRYING THE MISTRESS.

Harriet Klausner
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