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3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  2,294 Ratings  ·  356 Reviews

As Anthony and Rachel Brinkley welcome their third daughter-in-law to the family, they don’t quite realize the profound shift that is about to take place. For different reasons, the Brinkleys’ two previous daughters-in-law hadn’t been able to resist Rachel’s maternal control and Anthony’s gentle charm and had settled into their husbands’ family without rocking the boat. Bu
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Touchstone (first published January 1st 2011)
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Aug 10, 2013 K rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicklit
The premise sounded great -- exploring the dynamics of a family with a well-intentioned but intrusive and domineering mother-in-law, the two daughters-in-law who have always pretty much accommodated her, and the new third daughter-in-law who has a different reaction to her mother-in-law which then ripples out into the greater family. And who better to write this book than Joanna Trollope, with her sensitive eye toward the subtle nuances that color family relationships?

Alas, the execution was sor
From BBC Radio 4 - Book at Beachtime:
As a spirited new daughter-in-law joins the Brinkley clan, simmering tensions threaten family harmony. Read by Jane Whittenshaw

This is not my cup of tea.
Feb 01, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing
Joanna Trollope's newest novel, "daughters in law," is a gem, a gift! i would say i LOVED it. I devoured it. it was lush with British charm, great character driven prose, heartfelt family situations & woes and fun descriptions of modern life in London, in the countryside and by the sea. There are 3 grown brothers, raised by wonderful upper middle class parents who, themselves, are now married and starting to raise their own families. They marry good women, though all with quirks and their o ...more
Bronwyn Rykiert
Jun 12, 2013 Bronwyn Rykiert rated it it was amazing
This would have to be one of the best stories we have had at book club, it was a good choice. I really enjoyed it. Hopefully we should be able to have a good discussion on it this month.

Rachel Brinkley has always put her sons first and they have been her life and she has enjoyed being in the centre of their lives, even after the oldest 2 were married. The eldest, Edward married Sigrid, who is Swedish and they live in London but Sigrid's parents live in Sweden so she does not see them regularly.
Steve lovell
Mar 25, 2011 Steve lovell rated it really liked it
My daughter has just completed a house swap with her mother, and a city swap as well. Having my first visit with said author daughter since this event bought me face to face with a blast from the past - from another life. I was confronted with a bookcase full of novels by Andrea Newman, Margaret Drabble and Elizabeth Jane Howard - the aga-saga-ists of my early adult decades. For some reason I loved their books - not manly though when my mates were into the tough stuff of Ludlum and King. I didn' ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-library
I have been saving this book for when I needed it and I needed it this week. My current university paper is compulsory, if I am to continue with my choices for my masters I must complete this particular paper. I am struggling with the requirements. I feel as if they are beyond my limited capabilities - my brain hurts. Reading Joanna's latest offering does not hurt my brain. In fact it feels as if her words soothe away the ache bought on by statistical jargon. I found my self rationing out the pl ...more
Dona Matthews
May 22, 2011 Dona Matthews rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this novel. It's a story of a mother of 3 boys, a woman named Rachel, whose identity and meaning in life centered on creating and maintaining a vibrant, creative, positive family environment for herself, her sons, and her husband, who is a well-known artist. Everyone enjoys dinners and weekends at their country home; it's a place of rich sociability and generous tasteful hospitality. It all works splendidly well, until Rachel's sons are all grown up and married, and the daugh ...more
Carolyn Hill
May 14, 2012 Carolyn Hill rated it really liked it
Joanna Trollope is a wonderful writer whose metier is family relationships. Her characters and situations always seem very true to life - and very British - and though there are no fast paced plots, there is plenty of tension to drive the story. As the mother of two sons, one married and one about to be, I found this story centered around the relationship of the mother of three grown sons with her daughters-in-law to be highly relatable. The story is told from multiple points of view, so the rea ...more
Lynne Perednia
Apr 03, 2011 Lynne Perednia rated it liked it

Joanna Trollope's books have been derided for years by those who dismiss the homely tales as "Aga sagas", as if tales of heart, hearth and home were beneath readers and writers.

But the crazier the world gets, the more there are times when quiet compassion for the vagaries of the human condition is balm for the reader. This time, like every other, that is exactly what Trollope delivers.

Rachel and Anthony raised three sons. She's a vigorous, involved mother whose kitchen is the natural hub of the
Mar 01, 2012 Ivana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
Daughters in Law turned out to be less melodramatic and more insightful than I could have guessed from the summary. There's not much swerving with a story about a mother who considers all women on this world unworthy of her precious boys. It's either the mother or the daughter in law that's being obnoxious. In Joanna Trollope's book, no one is guilty and no one is totally innocent either. I loved how she accomplished to provide different perspectives on some issues by switching perspectives. I g ...more
May 05, 2016 Mystica rated it it was amazing
Joanna Trollope always always gets it right with the characterization. The family unit in this story is so beautifully portrayed that you can imagine it, right within your own family circle. The gregarious outgoing wife, the quiet, supportive husband giving in to his wife, three boys and now the daughters in law are coming.

So far the first two fitted in. They may not have been happy with lots of things but for the sake of getting along and not upsetting the unit, they just gave in. Enters Charlo
Mar 17, 2016 Ruth rated it really liked it
Since the days of Cain and Abel, children have had to pull away from their parents and become independent. With some parents, this task is much harder than with others.

Rachel and Anthony have had a wonderful life which included raising three boys. Rachel is fiercely protective of her sons but when Anthony brings home Petra, a student from his art class, who fascinates him plus has tremendous talent, Rachel seems to have gained a daughter. Life couldn't be better when Petra and Rachel's son, Ral
Jun 06, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
I'm between a 3 and a 4 on this novel by Joanna Trollope. Looking at others' reviews, I see that many readers had a response similar to mine. Trollope, in describing the lives of four families, pushes the reader to consider her own life and the lives of those she knows well. Her topic, that of the different family cultures which clash when a young couple marries, is universal but less often addressed than infidelity, boredom, 'growing apart,' and the other pitfalls of marriage. Certainly I spent ...more
Jun 09, 2016 Marcia rated it really liked it
I've missed reading books by this author!

This one was full of wonderfully complex and multi-dimensional characters, and the resulting relationships.

Loved it! Joanna Trollope writes so beautifully about the various nuances of relationships!
Bree T
Feb 11, 2014 Bree T rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel and Anthony have raised three sons and Rachel has devoted herself to her boys entirely. When her youngest son gets married, the last to do so, Rachel at first thinks that things will remain the same. Luke and his new wife Charlotte will come from London to Suffolk to see Rachel and Anthony just as the other boys, Edward and his wife Sigrid and their daughter Mariette do. Middle son Ralph, his wife Petra and their two boys live nearby and Rachel and Anthony see them often.

But Charlotte has
Of course this may be a good story. But this is not my type. And I skip lot of pages which I don't want to read because of unwanted explanations.
Aug 25, 2011 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 8-star
Rachel and Anthony Brinkley have raised three sons. Edward the eldest is married to a Swedish woman, Sigrid, and they have an eight year old daughter, Mariella. Ralph, the middle son, is married to Petra, a somewhat bohemian artist who was taken under his parents' wings, and they have two young sons, Kit and Barney. The novel opens with the wedding of Luke and Charlotte and a sense that changes are afoot. Until now Rachel and Anthony's Suffolk home has been the hub of family gatherings, and Rach ...more
Catty O'Connor
May 27, 2012 Catty O'Connor rated it liked it
This book was so strange. I still am not sure how I feel about it.

On one hand the characters were so well written, that I have very clear images and attitudes for them in my head. I am able to draw comparisons between them and people I know ,a high acomplishment. I also felt a deep connection with them during plot lines and relationship twists.

On the other hand, looking back on the book I am struggling to make clear to myself, what happened.
I read books to escape normal life and become engross
Della Wilson
Jun 19, 2011 Della Wilson rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Goodreads' Giveaway. This was an advance copy from Touchstone Books. This was an excellent book on family dynamics. It was not a simple black and white view of in-laws. Each person was given a true well-rounded life with quirks and misunderstandings. I would like to imagine a follow-up book to see what 5 years later looks like for this family. As a mother of two adult sons, I can see a lot of similarity with this mother. I don't know how I will interact with ...more
Dale Harcombe
Feb 06, 2012 Dale Harcombe rated it it was amazing
I like Joanna Trollope's writing so pounced on this book when I saw it in the library. I expected to like it. I didnt. I LOVED it. I started it at the hairdressers in the afternoon and I was hooked. After I came home I couldn't wait to get back to the Brinkleys. It is a great picture of family dynamics with Rachel and Anthony and their three sons and their respective wives. I read it in one gulp. Stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to finish it.It should be required reading for anyone wh ...more
Mary Ann
Oct 03, 2015 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this ages ago, forgot to rate it, and have since read three more of hers. It was a BookBub cheapie, and I didn't think I'd like Trollope so much. In the four novels I've read, there is really no intricate plotting, but the characters! Even minor characters are finely drawn. The narratives are really of relationships of all kinds-parents and children, young and old, siblings, friendships-treated in a fresh way. There is often a character who, while not exactly malevolent, is menacing a ...more
May 29, 2012 Jean rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed most of Joanna Trollope's novels and this one is no exception. She has an excellent writing style and is always entertaining. She is at her best describing the dynamics of family relationships and excels in defining each character clearly and laying bear the niggling tensions between family members.

In this novel the parents of three sons, each married to a very different woman, try to play too large a role in their sons' lives, as well as in the lives of their families. The plot
Lori Bamber
Sep 02, 2011 Lori Bamber rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Hi, I'm Lori, and I'm a Joanna Trollope addict.

I always feel a bit guilty reading her books, because they are suspiciously easy to read and hard to put down; there is not a single word to look up in the dictionary. The phrase chick lit comes to mind, even though I hate it.

But there is not a writer alive, I think, that is as deft with the hard, real complexities of human relationships. Reading any of her books is therapy: an opportunity to experience the difficulties of love, emotion and connect
Sep 08, 2011 Teena rated it it was ok
I didn't love this book. It was a bit too soft for my liking, with strange, unlikable characters making strange, unrelatable life decisions. My friend thought it depicted the mother/adult son/daughter-in-law relationship perfectly - maybe she's right but I couldn't warm to the mother-in-law and therefore couldn't forgive her the mistakes she made. If I am going to read a saga, I prefer an early Maeve Binchy.
Sep 19, 2011 Joelle rated it really liked it
Ms Trollope is one of the very best of this genre - amazingly insightful description of various relationships and how they impact on each other. The characters develop and change throughout the novel, they are so real. Having said that, I am a bit disappointed with the way she wraps it all up, as the reader does not get an insight really into how they got to that point, the ending is a bit sudden. But I liked it very much.
Fiona Robson
Feb 15, 2012 Fiona Robson rated it liked it
Shelves: joanna-trollope
I have to admit .... Joanna Trollope is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. And I don't know why! Nothing particularly exciting happens in these books. My Aunty June once said, knowingly ... "People Happen!" and I think that must be it. This was very well written with carefully crafted characters. The main character of Petra did my head in a bit, but it was a good read, nontheless.
Jun 13, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joanna Trollope's latest book is a study of a family with particular attention to the daughters-in-law. The book opens with the youngest son marrying a young attractive girl who the mother feels is not suitable for her son. This is a tightly knit family with the mother controlling her three sons, with some opposition felt by the daughters-in-law. Well worth reading!
Dec 21, 2015 Nicholas rated it really liked it
Once again Trollope tackles intra-familial dynamics and does a pretty great job of it. What I appreciated most about this novel was how unlikable most of the characters really were (Rachel especially, and excepting Sigrid) and how that did not make me any less interested in reading the book. That's an impressive feat.
Judit Bertalan
Jul 07, 2016 Judit Bertalan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Rich, all-round, realistic characterisations, a poignant and exciting plot, psychologically constructive conversations, a real page-turner. Also, it depicts the English seaside so beautifully that it will leave you longing to go (back) there. It is a bit of an emotional intelligence builder and an educational tale about in-law relationships.
Oct 01, 2011 Gerda rated it it was amazing
A very satisfying read. From overbearing and interfering mothers-in-law to spoiled and self obsessed daughters-in-law and everything in between. A must-read for all upcoming mothers-in-law.
Joanna Trollope has once again managed to create very believable characters. We may not like or understand all of them but these are real people we meet every day.
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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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