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SECOND HONEYMOON. [Hardcover]

JOANNA TROLLOPE


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: BLOOMSBURY (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747580634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747580638
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant novel about the small but crucial details and turning points of life April 5 2006
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
SECOND HONEYMOON: This dangerously mushy-sounding title is ironic, thank God. In the hands of a less clever and disciplined writer than Joanna Trollope, it really would be about a man and wife "finding" one another after the kids move out. This never exactly happens, mostly because the empty nest contemplated in the first chapter by Edie Boyd, part-time actress and former full-time mother, is rapidly re-populated as the book progresses...much to the chagrin of her husband Russell, who had secret hopes of being liberated into post-parent bliss.

The plot rocks along at a comfortable real-time pace --- not urgent or momentous, but with a pleasant tension that keeps you reading. Although the crazy-quilt of overlapping events sometimes feels a bit soap-opera, what with three semi-adult children (any older parent will know precisely what I mean by that characterization) and Edie's sister to keep track of, SECOND HONEYMOON is definitely a cut above your average page-turner. Edie, the emotional center of the book, is endearingly three-dimensional, a blend of clear-eyed honesty and sheer emotional goo. Her struggles with the loss of her maternal role, and its return in a different form, are paralleled by the play in which she is performing: Ibsen's Ghosts. A tremendous scandal when it appeared in the 1880s --- it was banned in England until 1914 --- the drama centers on Mrs. Alving, a widow whose "revered" husband turns out to have given her syphilis --- which she passed on in the womb, fatally, to their son Osvald --- as well as to have fathered an illegitimate daughter.

It is to Trollope's credit that she does not belabor the play's relevance (and assumes that readers will know its basic scenario --- frankly, I hadn't read it in so long that I had to Google it). True, Edie forms a quasi-parental relationship with the young actor, Lazlo, who plays Osvald, and certainly, as in all families, there are secrets and shadowy presences in the Boyd clan...there is even a child conceived out of wedlock, though of course with none of the moral shock it delivered in Ibsen's day. Mostly, however, SECOND HONEYMOON is occupied with what being in the play means to Edie.

Character, in fact, is Trollope's chief strength (dialogue, too, at which she is a pure genius) --- even Arsie the cat, an enormous, lazy beast, has terrific personality. The dramatis personae are likable, recognizable people, with the usual human capacity for self-delusion, but doing their best to cope with what life throws their way. The portrait of Edie and Russell, for example, manages to suggest both the affectionate bonds and the heedless taking-for-granted moments of that most challenging of relationships, a long marriage. There are really only two "bad guys" in the book: Max, the ex-husband of Edie's sister Vivien (who struck me as a tad too much of a feminist success story), and the nasty, sexy Cheryl, who plays the daughter in Ghosts. They are no match, though, for the forthright Boyds and their allies.

Does this sound humdrum? Deficient in suspense? It isn't, strangely, as long as you remember not to expect the grueling, melodramatic or macabre, but something more like the small but crucial details and turning points of your own life. And, as in life, there is no sugary ending or neat summary of Lessons Learned. In Trollope's previous novels --- THE RECTOR'S WIFE and THE CHOIR, by the way, were made into absolutely addictive TV miniseries that were broadcast in the U.S. --- time after time I remember expecting a riding-off-into-the-sunset finale, only to be left with something more ambiguous. It takes courage to resist the temptation to tie up a novel with a pretty sash, like a party dress. Trollope's books are plainer, messier, more honest. Her women and men don't "save" each other. They are their own champions.

--- Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition muddled with errors Feb. 12 2012
By Ani Koreh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a wonderful and insightful story about a family going through multiple transitions. Sadly, the Kindle edition is full of scanning errors - missing punctuation, bizarre characters added, etc. Recommended - if you read it in hard copy!
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will the Real Joanna Trollope Please Stand Up! March 25 2006
By Louise D. Patton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the real Joanna Trollope! The author who writes insightful novels about "real" life, who adds humor, who uses prose, and "hits the nail on the head" so that the reader has to savor those certain lines that come from one's own experience! This is a novel one enjoys so much that the reader is disappointed when it's over and sits savoring its aura. If you're looking for enjoyment and a realistic view of those punches life pulls this is the story for you! Read it!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empty nest May 12 2006
By Beverley Strong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Edie is distraught...her youngest child, Ben,22 years old, has moved out of home to live with his girlfriend. Edie and her husband, theatrical agent, Russell have two older children who have both moved into their own flats and the shock of being without any children at home has just hit Edie like a blow. Unless you've had this happen, it probably seems to be an exaggerated state of mind, but if your last child or your only child has gone, it is truly like a gaping hole that you can never imagine being filled, and is a genuinely terrible sense of loss...If you've been there, you'll know what I mean! Russell has been trying to persuade Edie to resume her stage career, abandoned many years before, to give her a new sense of purpose but she simply can't rise above her depression until she meets a thin, needy but talented young actor who moves into their house as a lodger. They play together in an Ibsen revival, most successfully, until Edie's three children all move back into their parent's home because of varying difficulties. Edie finds herself in the situation of getting exactly what she'd prayed for and then discovering that one can't go back, and that the past is just that..the past. This was a very moving read and one with which a lot of readers will identify, especially mothers.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rings So True... May 30 2006
By Wendy Kaplan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Anyone who has had to suffer an "empty nest" can empathize completely with Edie Boyd, whom we meet on the first page grieving for her youngest son in his impossibly messy room that, obviously, the author got from my OWN son's room. For several pages, I thought the son was dead, and was in tears...until I realized that he had merely moved out. And then I wept for the absolute recognition of that terrible feeling: "I Have Nobody to Mother"!

What saves this book from just another "woman in transition" novel is that we also get to know Edie's three grown children: Rosa, in and out of relationships and jobs that are beneath her; prim and proper married Matthew, old before his time in reaction to his somewhat hippy upbringing; and the aforementioned "baby," Ben, who has moved in with his gorgeous girlfriend--and her mother.

As Edie and her devoted husband, Russell, struggle with their different points of view on being alone again (Edie is devastated, Russell is enchanted at the idea of being romantic with his wife after all these years), a strange twist of fate brings all three children home again--plus a diffident young man who is starring in an Ibsen play with Edie.

The nest is full, Edie is fulfilled. Or is she? And what of her sister Viviene, whose own son is in Australia with his girfriend and whose straying husband has left for good? Is she better off alone?

This is just a fine, beautifully written (as always) and deeply insightful look into the stages of a woman's life--and a man's, and how, as she shows us anew that nothing is constant other than change itself.

Highly, highly recommended.

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