The court official leaned closer.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.
"What's gone past," he said, "is not just an advocate, any old lady advocate. What's gone past is his Honour's totty."
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.
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. Marrying the Mistress is a wonderful read whose characters and their lives reach our hearts and make us think about our own decisions, mistakes and regrets. Now that I've been introduced to Joanna Trollope's writings, I look forward to being further entertained by reading more of her books.