At Home with the Templetons

Monica McInerney, Ballantine, $15 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-345-51865-1
Everything is not as it seems in McInerney's entertaining exploration of family relationships amid romance and turmoil. When the Templetons move from England to an inherited family manse in Australia, Henry, the charming but financially clueless patriarch, hopes to make a fortune by turning the new home into a tourist destination, dressing his family in old-timey costume as guides. His wife, Eleanor, struggles to balance the books, keep her husband's numerous financial schemes in check, and wrangle the kids: cynical Charlotte, naïve Audrey, precocious but wise Gracie, and young Spencer. Even Eleanor's sister, Hope, despite problems with alcohol, is in on the family business. Then there's artist-widow Nina Donovan and her son, Tom, living in a nearby rented farmhouse and both differently entangled with their flashy neighbors. McInerney (Greetings from Somewhere Else) follows her large cast over the course of 16 years as the Templetons disperse across the globe and become mired in their own individual struggles with, among other things, infidelity, loneliness, addiction, business, jealousy, and straightup growing pains. McInerney's greatest feat is to create a large cast of strong characters; they're individually tough and nicely considered, which lends a pleasing authenticity to the travails of an uncommon family. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
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