Summary and book reviews of Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope

Second Honeymoon

A Novel

By Joanna Trollope

Second Honeymoon
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2006,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2007,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

Ben is, at last, leaving home. At twenty-two, he’s the youngest of the family. His mother Edie, an actress, is distraught. His father Russell, a theatrical agent, is rather hoping to get his wife back, after decades of family life. His brother, Matthew, is wrestling with a relationship in which he achieves and earns less than his girlfriend. His sister Rosa is wrestling with debt, and the end of a turbulent love affair.

Meet the Boyd family and the empty nest, twenty-first-century style.

Chapter One

Edie put her hand out, took a breath and slowly, slowly pushed open his bedroom door. The room inside looked as if he had never left it. The bed was unmade, the curtains half drawn, the carpet almost invisible under trails of clothing. There were single trainers on shelves, mugs and cereal bowls on the floor, scatterings of papers and books everywhere. On the walls the same posters hung hap­hazardly from nuggets of blue gum: a Shakespeare play from a long-ago school outing, Kate Moss in a mackintosh, the Stereophonics from a concert at Earls Court. It looked, at first glance, as it had looked for a large part of his twenty-two years. It looked as if he was coming back, any minute. Edie stepped through the chaos on the floor - ah, that's where her only bone-china mug had got to - and pulled the curtains fully apart. One side, obviously accustomed to doing this, rushed headlong to the left and slid triumphantly off the pole to the floor. Edie ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
In Brief
As actress Edie contemplates the yawning chasm threatening to engulf her now that her third and last child has flown the nest, her husband, theatrical agent Russell, quietly relishes the thought of having her to himself once more, after nearly three decades of devoted parenthood. Edie decides to tread the boards once more, landing herself a part in Ibsen's Ghosts and surprising herself with her accomplished performance. But before long all three children find themselves returning to the family home: Rosa, still struggling with the aftermath of a disastrous love affair, loses her job; Matthew's relationship with girlfriend Ruth is strained to breaking point; whilst younger brother Ben needs to give his own ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

The ebb and flow of relationships is brilliantly handled by Trollope. This is a much more metropolitan crowd than her normal characters - no timid country wives here .... Trollope has perfectly captured what it takes to be a mother.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
The Telegraph (UK)

For such a neat, fastidious writer, Joanna Trollope is surprisingly fond of ambiguous endings. She provides one here, an artful confection of faux-naturalism whose uncomfortable message - that a good life depends partly on self knowledge, but partly on sheer luck - is sweetened by the elegance with which it is delivered.

The Independent (UK) - Kate Saunders

This novel is utterly absorbing, constantly surprising, and often extremely funny.

The London Times - Patrick Perrick

Trollope is the queen of the domestic dilemma .... The story is told episodically, skittering from person to person, and problem to problem, so that it’s a bit like peeking at a newspaper agony column brought fascinatingly to life. Part of the fascination lies in Trollope’s gleaming prose.

Publishers Weekly

Her flawed but lovable characters....save Trollope's tidily concluded latest from feeling too much like chick lit.

Library Journal

No one is better at conveying the manners and mores of middle-class Britain.

Kirkus Reviews

A masterpiece of the mundane....modest and unerringly real....a love song to ordinary life.

Books Quarterly

'Second Honeymoon' is an absorbing, beautifully balanced study of 21st-century parenthood and the difficulties of letting your loved ones go.

Seattle Times - Melinda Bargreen

Sharply detailed subsidiary characters make this a richly imagined novel about family relationships, almost the equal of Trollope's earlier, searing Other People's Children.

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Beyond the Book

Joanna Trollope was born in her grandfather, Anthony Trollope's rectory in the Cotswolds in December 1943, and although her actual childhood was spent in the Midlands and in Surrey, she always felt that her real "home" was her birthplace. Joanna says — “It gave me - still gives me - not just a sense of rootedness, but a capacity to value landscape and weather and the rich life of smallish communities. It wouldn't matter where I lived now, I'd always carry that centred feeling of having come from somewhere very well defined with me.” She is the eldest of three, the mother of two daughters, the stepmother of two stepsons, and a grandmother.

After winning a tiny scholarship to Oxford, she went on to a spell ...

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