- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Viking USA (June 1 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670891509
- ISBN-13: 978-0670891504
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 544 g
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,453,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Marrying The Mistress Hardcover – Jun 1 2000
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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
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
Obviously his wife is stunned by his announcement. However, it is his sons and their wives and his grandchildren who react by what they perceive is the family patriarch's callous action of thinking with the wrong body part. One particular son, Simon, finds himself being pulled in several conflicting directions. He does not know whether to emotionally support his mother or his father, but realizes he has no option but to help both of them. His wife wants him to do neither as she does not want to "fund" her in-law's folly. Worse yet, Simon and his children find the former mistress turned fiancee charming to the point Simon would not mind filling his father's shoes. The aftermath of Guy's proclamation is just starting to evolve and the impact it makes on his close circle of relatives is just beginning to emerge.
Joanna Trollope is known for her deep thinking look at middle class England. Her latest novel carries the author's trademark of complex problems encircled by conflicting emotions swirling about real people. What makes this tale work is the fact that Merrion is not a gold digger, but is a spirited nice person and the fact that Ms. Trollope does not provide gift-wrapped solutions with a bow on top. Anyone who enjoys a poignant relationship drama by one of the sub-genre,s best will want to read MARRYING THE MISTRESS.
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