The court official leaned closer.
"What's gone past," he said, "is not just an advocate, any old lady advocate. What's gone past is his Honour's totty."
And what's going past is the life of Guy Stockdale, a 62-year-old judge, who has been married forever, has two sons--Simon and Alan--and three grandchildren. For the past seven years, he's also had a mistress. Merrion Palmer is intelligent, attractive, and half Guy's age, which also makes her younger than both Simon and Alan. Her dad died when she was a toddler and she's well aware that Guy is something of a father substitute. For years the role of mistress has suited her, but, suddenly, this style of relationship isn't enough for either of them. They've both had enough of sneaking around and avoiding people, so Guy has momentously made up his mind to leave his wife, Laura, and marry Merrion.
Marrying the Mistress dives into the shock waves that buffet the Stockdale family after Guy leaves Laura. The novel addresses the question of how his sons are going to cope, the explosive opinions of his forthright daughter-in-law Carrie and what his teenage grandchildren make of it all. Can any of them avoid taking sides? Should they? And what about the abandoned wife, Laura, a woman apparently so long-sufferingly self-sacrificing she makes Mother Teresa look selfish?
From queen of the saga Joanna Trollope comes a dexterous portrayal of the causes and effects of marital breakdown: the stresses, the battle of wills, the bitterness and personal growth, the renegotiation of relationships--and an exposure of the depths to which the moral high ground can sink.--Lisa Gee
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From Publishers Weekly
In her latest tale, about a May-December romance and its effects on the individuals and families involved, Trollope again displays her extraordinary gift for representing the intricacies of familial relationships and the vicissitudes of domestic life. British Judge Guy Stockdale, of the Stanborough Crown Court, is just over 60, and feels it is time to tell his wife, Laura, that for the last seven years of their 40-year marriage he has been deeply in love and having an affair with much younger Merrion Palmer. Merrion, a barrister, is only 31Dyounger than Guy's two sons, Simon (a 38-year-old father of three adolescent children) and Alan (a 35-year-old homosexual), and she forthrightly admits that Guy may be her father figure. Laura does not take the news well, despite the unhappiness that pervades her marriage. She obstinately refuses to talk or negotiate with Guy; characteristically, she clings to her favorite son, Simon, who's a lawyer, and forces him to represent her against his father. Laura's manipulation of Simon puts a tremendous strain on his marriage; his wife, Carrie, already resents Laura as a "self-absorbed, self-pitying woman" who uses her son as "a bloody substitute husband." Meanwhile, Simon and his family and Alan get to know and like Guy's mistress, an acceptance that Merrion ultimately finds intimidating, since she fears her identity will be subsumed in Guy's family. And Guy, dreading "the inevitable infliction of pain," struggles with guilty deliberations on Merrion's future with an aging husband. None of the themes hereDbetrayal and anger, the lovers' age difference, the grasping mother, the daughter-in-law's resentmentDare terribly unusual, but Trollope's proven ability to present them intelligently, as moral and emotional tangles faced by thinking, interesting people, satisfyingly combines the universally recognizable and the intellectually engaging. This novel should easily vault onto the bestseller lists. 12-city author tour; Penguin audio. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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