cover image The Other Family

The Other Family

Joanna Trollope, . . Touchstone, $15 (321pp) ISBN 978-1-4391-2983-8

An unexpected line in a will leads to complications and new beginnings in Trollope’s eminently readable latest (after Friday Nights ). The novel opens outside London with the sudden death of Richie Rossiter, a once-popular pianist whose star has been on the wane for some time. Chrissie, Richie’s partner for the past 23 years, is shocked to learn that Richie has left his piano and his early musical estate to his “other family”—Margaret, the wife he never divorced, and their son, Scott, now an aimless bachelor. Soon after, Chrissie’s youngest daughter, Amy, becomes fascinated with her father’s original family and his humble roots, leading to a tentative friendship with her half-brother that may result in new opportunities for both of Richie’s families. At times, the grieving characters—particularly Chrissie—seem excessively distraught about trivial matters, but Trollope’s keen ear for dialogue and her pointed development of secondary characters keep the novel on the safe side of overwrought, while the hopeful if too tidy conclusion highlights the sometimes surprising possibilities that can emerge in the wake of grief. (Apr.)