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.