cover image Daughters-in-Law


Joanna Trollope, Touchstone, $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4516-1838-9

Short on plot but long on emotion, Trollope's latest (after The Other Family) is a straightforward take on the ways we shape and reshape our idea of family. Though her three sons are grown and married, Rachel is unwilling to let go of her role at the center of their lives, much to the dismay of her daughters-in-law. Responsible Edward, the eldest, feels the burden of being the good son, but his consuming roles as son and brother are jeopardizing his relationship with his own wife, Sigrid, who sacrificed her relationship with her family in Sweden to build a life with him. Rachel and her husband coddled their middle son, Ralph, even matchmaking him with fragile Petra, whose marriage is made uneasy by the large role Ralph's family has in their life. And willful Charlotte quickly finds herself at odds with Rachel after her marriage to youngest son Luke, when Charlotte challenges Rachel's hold on the family's habits. Though genuinely caring, the characters slight each other as they tumble toward individual crises. There's nothing groundbreaking, but it's a decent fix for family drama addicts. (Apr.)