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Other People's Children

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,518 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
With "The Best of Friends," American readers have taken Joanna Trollope into their hearts. That critically-acclaimed novel has climbed bestseller lists around the country and garnered raves from reviewers like "Good Housekeeping" who said that she "captures the poignant rituals of family attachment and detachment with delicious wryness and large doses of empathy." But with ...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Viking Adult (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,352)
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Jan 05, 2010 Nicholas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved (almost all of) Joanna Trollope's novels. And this is one of the best. She's great at exploring the perspectives of ALL people involved in blended families. My only reservation is that the two craziest characters are both women and the men are allowed to be much more normal. That said, if there is a character to be admired in this novel, it is also a woman.
Aug 13, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: somerville
I have always enjoyed this author because she writes a good story and nothing is simple and/or straightforward in her books. The stories are a lot like real life with all its twists and turns.

This book is about stepfamilies - the adults (parents, step-parents), all the various kids, dating someone with kids, the complicated relationships between all people involved, how hard it all is, the joys & love present, the compromises made, etc. Boy, oh boy, did it hit home for me being both a paren
Mar 29, 2010 Desislava rated it it was amazing
That is really a very good story! The title itself implements what the story is about. Broken families, children involved.It is hard to try and make children happy, especially daughters with attitudes. The character I dislike. She is 25, overly insecure, jealous and possessive over her father and brother, acting as if she is a wife. She broke the relationships between her brother and his wife to be because of her influence as well as her father's wife to be. It is so sad that both men realized t ...more
Before you begin reading, it's probably best to clear your mind of any evil-stepmother ideas you have so you can appreciate this story. Snow White and Cinderella are, after all, just fairytales.

Other People's Children is a really delightful story about step-families and describes what it really means to be part of blended (or unable to be blended) family. The novel starts out at Josie and Matthew's wedding. Both are divorced and their young children aren't particularly excited about the new rela
Jun 14, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
I would rate this as 3.5 actually. Thought the complex emotions experienced by all characters in a split-family situation very true to life - except possibly for Dale who needed counselling. Tom felt he had to support his daughter in whatever way she elected, but the support should have been directed into professional counselling and strong loving advice from him, rather than letting her run his life, and so affect the happiness of Elizabeth, Rufus, Lucas and Amy as well as Tom.
'It's as if stepmothers have come to represent all the things we fear, most terribly, about motherhood gone wrong. We need mothers so badly, so deeply, that the idea of an unnatural mother is, literally, monstrous.'

I had never heard of this book or its author when I picked it up off the lounge floor, caught in the throes of boredom last Sunday afternoon, and started reading. The characters were all introduced at once, so at first it was quite hard to keep track of who was who, especially wit
Mar 20, 2009 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fasinating book if you are in or thinking about getting involved in a second relationship. It describes perfectly the trials and torment that one goes through whilst trying to breakthough all the emotions involved. Lots of pain barriers and plots.
Reading this book helped me realise I was not on my own and have passed the book on to several friends who are in the same position as I was.
Meagan Houle
Trollop has a gift for writing about the mundane and making it seem significant (which it is, really). This is a fascinating portrayal of the stepfamily dynamic--something I'm totally unfamiliar with. I grew up in a traditional family and I have no idea what it's like to have a blended family, to share parents, to try to bond with "siblings" that aren't really yours. The book also delves into mental illness, and a mother's destructive path. While she loves her children, she can't take care of th ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
What a tangled web is wove, no question. Poor little Rufus, his mom Josie was quite surprised with his appearance, as was Tom, a widower with grown children. Well, doesn't seem that one worked, Josie left the marriage. She has since become involved with Matthew who is very nice and Rufus likes him but Matthew also has three children from a previous marriage. Matthew's children live very poorly with his x-wife, Nadine who's sole purpose in life seems to be to make Matthew unhappy and teach her ch ...more
May 23, 2016 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading Joanna Trollope's books for many many years; you know exactly what you will get - a story based on family life, centered on an upper-middle class family, where there isn't usually much 'plot' apart from the relationships between the characters and the issues that arise from this. So in that sense its a safe option - I know I will enjoy reading about these people, who's lives are very believable, similar to many people I know.
Its like looking in a mirror I suppose, seeing how
Jane Croucher
Sep 14, 2014 Jane Croucher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Joanna Trollope. As a dysfunctional, barren spinster the tales of the vagaries of family adult life seem far removed from my personal experience, so I approach them more as fantasy or science fiction. But with less hairy midgets like what they have in the Hobbit. Or robots.
Kimberly Sullivan
I’ve read and enjoyed other Trollope novels, but this one was a real find. Written almost 20 years ago, the novel follows the lives of two ‘blended families’, a term that would not yet have been coined.

The narrative switches deftly between the points of view of the divorced/abandoned/happily remarried parents and their children, underlining how the miscommunication – or perhaps willful miscommunication – contributes to the tensions of building a new family.

In the first blush of new love, or in t
Sep 27, 2012 Aliya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Emotional but accurate portrayal of families struggling with divorce and stepfamily life, and the impact this has on kids. Wish the characters would get some basic counselling!
Apr 26, 2014 Licia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Davis
Having discussed this at our local book club we all came to the conclusion that most of Ms Trollope's books share very similar characters and plots! However as a stepmother this book did resonate with me and I could see characteristics in family members which made it a slightly more interesting read although I would disagree with the sleeve notes that said that the author offered solutions to difficulties that stepfamilies often encounter. I felt this was a rather lofty ambition that didn't come ...more
Dec 16, 2010 Pamela rated it really liked it
"Other People's Children" by Joanna Trollope was a really good read, and probably one of the most honest books I've read in a while. During this novel, Ms. Trollope tackles and wrestles with an issue that seems to permeate throughout society, no matter where you are residing. She takes the issues of separation, divorce, stepparents and the children that are left behind to pick up the pieces, and molds them into a workable art from which her readers(s) can learn from.
Ms. Trollope starts out with
Nov 28, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an easy come, easy go, book. Efficiently written, carefully plotted and topical in theme, it holds the interest but does not inspire or open the mind.

The characters neatly represent slightly different strata of society. Some characters are definitely nice, reasonable and put-upon, while others are angry, unreasonable and unbalanced, either in a temporary or permanent sense. Places, actually territories, figure highly in the book and represent the different social standing of characters,
Jun 06, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: generally like this author
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2014 ~mad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksiveread
I enjoy this author - she is so real!

However, I've never had a book sock me in the stomach like this one did - it's about remarriage and stepfamilies, stepkids and attendant challenges.

"...explores the hard-won truths and often harder-to-overcome difficulties in coping with present and former husbands and wives, and above all, with other people's children."

A little too close to home - I'll probably have very bad dreams tonight!
Nov 21, 2015 Dee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Predictable Trollope - family drama, people you care about, people you don't like but learn to care about, and people you don't like at the beginning that you REALLY don't like at the end. It is an interesting look at step-families in a number of different configurations, and it does give a child's eye perspective that is often missing in such stories! Recommended for teens!
Syl. A.k.a Topo di biblioteca
The name is self-explanatory. This fictional book deals with the trauma of step motherhood, which is universally disclaimed as cruel and unnatural. I felt pity towards all the step mothers involved in this story - who were just human, but had to have super human patience to deal with their step brats. This story revolves around 3 sets of step children and their interrelationships. It was a good and thought provoking read. I personally dont know of anyone who is a step-mom (but for my paternal gr ...more
Cindy Wyatt
This is the third Joanna Trollope book I have read. Her books tend to be about family relationships and everything doesn't always work out neatly or the way you expected (which I appreciate). This book kept my interest but I couldn't help noticing that most of the female characters were overly dramatic and the male characters were weak.
Tess Mertens-Johnson
The only mature adult in this book was Rufus, the eight year old boy.
Families come in all different shapes and forms. This book follows a family broken up and how they try to move on, or not move on with their lives.
Nadine is left by her husband Matthew for Josie, a younger woman. She takes her anger for her husband out on her children. Josie was also married and broke that marriage up for Matthew. Tom, her ex, was widowed when he married the much younger Josie. Tom has an adult daughter Dale wh
Gill Schell
This just seems to be the norm today. Children and families thrown together, trying to cope with hurt, distress, a new family life with people they don't want to be with, in places they don't want to be. A good read about one of life's problems today.
Naomi Lambert
Aug 13, 2014 Naomi Lambert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trollope's book are well researched and written. Often set in recognisable British families her characters are complex and we can relate to their problems. Her issue of choice here is step families. Some of it is hard to read but always thought provoking.
Deanne Harvey
A sweet easy read in between the heavier books I am currently reading.
I always forget how "grannyish" some of her character's opinions can be, as a recurring theme perhaps they reflect the authors view on life also.
(eg: the horror shown at having the wedding where 15 types of pizza could be purchased !!! Most people's heaven I would assume)
Jan 24, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I normally love Joanna Trollop's books, I am finding this one difficult to bear. Not that this story isn't good or inviting, but that most of the women characters are immature shrews who spend a lot of their time being jealous and shrieking. Perhaps as I get further into this book, they will redeem themselves by growing in maturity and becoming more tolerant individuals.
Now that I have finished the book, some of the female characters improved and others remain the same. The men had their
Sep 18, 2015 DJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very insightful look at the remarriage/step-family thing. I recognize some issues that I dodged by getting out of something where there was a male version of Dale in the picture!
Aug 15, 2015 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a very interesting and realistic portrayal of some of the issues faced by step parents and stepchildren.
Karen Landon
Nov 15, 2015 Karen Landon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book. Anyone involved in blending families should read this. The characters are good examples of how to act/adjust and how NOT to. Joanna Trollope is one of my favorite authors.
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Read by Theme: Other People's Children by Joanna Trollope 9 35 Jul 12, 2012 06:38PM  
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Joanna Trollope Potter Curteis (aka Caroline Harvey)

Joanna Trollope was born on 9 December 1943 in her grandfather's rectory in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England, daughter of Rosemary Hodson and Arthur George Cecil Trollope. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is a fifth-generation niece of the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trol
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