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Marrying the Mistress [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Joanna Trollope
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2000 Wheeler Large Print Compass Series
The most provocative novel yet from the author who writes grown-up books for grown-up people.

Joanna Trollope, whose elegant, gently provocative novels are becoming as beloved in America as in England once again "captures the poignant rituals of family attachment and detachment with delicious wryness and large doses of empathy" (Good Housekeeping).

What happens when the esteemed head of a family--an English judge, no less--announces he is leaving a forty-year marriage to marry his mistress? How do his grown sons feel? How do his grandchildren respond? And how is that crisis compounded by the knowledge that his mistress is no mere bit of fluff but a spirited, accomplished young woman who is--to their dismay--immensely likable?

Marrying the Mistress is quintessential Trollope with an added perspective: that of the men in a family and how they interact across generations. Here are sons who could envision themselves being tempted by their father's new bride; mothers who cling forever to primacy in their son's affections; teenagers with insights clearer than their parents'. In Marrying the Mistress, Trollope combines her trademark sensitivity with a new boldness and unsentimental honesty that make this book her most true-to-life ever.

Praise for Joanna Trollope:

"Like a good kitchen chat, Joanna Trollope's novels dish out equal measures of reassuring warmth and sobering insight.... [Her] gift is her ability to capture far-flung perspectives with compassion."--The New York Times Book Review

"Trollope . . . has a remarkable ability to penetrate her characters' humanity, to find their vulnerable inner core, without reducing them to sentimental stereotypes."--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"[Trollope's characters] all get their due from an author who sees through them without ever patronizing them." --Elle

"Her books are . . . readable without being trivial, accessible without being pat, psychologically astute without being labored."--The Wall Street Journal
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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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 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars MARRYING THE MISTRESS April 11 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book showed signs of water damage in that there were moldy spots on the upper ends of the dust cover and on the spine of the book itself. Otherwise the book was fine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love & Divorce in England 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed first Trollope read Sept. 15 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well, I enjoyed this. It's my first Joanna Trollope book and I thought she did a great job of showing the story from many points of view. A quick, easy and enjoyable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love Versus Family Ties, Redux Aug. 26 2002
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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By margot
Format:Paperback
I kept waiting for the development of the relationship between Guy Stockdale and Merrion Palmer once the news of their passionate 7 year affair became public knowledge. What I got was the relationship of Carrie Stockdale to every other character in the book. I found myself being more and more irritated as I progressed with the story. I would not have bothered to even consider reading it if I had known the protagonist was going to be the over-bearing , opinionated , inconsequential daughter-in-law. I was hoping for a love story that followed THE COUPLE through their relationship and their processing of the reactions from everyone all around them. I could have been interested in the wife who, after devoting an adult lifetime to one man, was left high and dry without a clue. I was not in the least bit interested in Carrie and Simons spoiled children and their relationship with each other. That would have been another book, which in no way would have been of interest to me.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Her Best
If you are a Joanna Trollope fan, this will seem as if she simply phoned it in. Maybe this novel suffers in comparison to the others because the characters here aren't as fully... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars HO-HUM
Marrying the Mistress was a disappointing read. Trollope gives family life good detail, but neglects to portray any sympathetic characters. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2000 by Faireheart
2.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite authors, but not my favorite book
I loved "The Spanish Lover" and that inspired me to read more of her books. Unfortunetly, I was disappointed in this one. Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2000 by Suzanne E. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Slow
I found this book to be a bit slow in places, I couldn't quite get into the characters until about half way through. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2000 by Mary Stanley
5.0 out of 5 stars True to life
This is the first book by Joanna Trollope that I've read and I really enjoyed it. Her characters are so well written and so true to life. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2000 by C. L. Scheer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
Loved this book! By the time I was done, I felt as though I knew these characters intimately. This was the first time I had read one of her books and I am going to definately... Read more
Published on July 25 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Marrying the Mistress
Trollope departs from her usual device of following two paths resulting from a single starting point (the twin sisters in Spanish Lover, etc. Read more
Published on July 14 2000 by Vera
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