Tag Archives: Relationships

Review: The Mother-In-Law

The Mother-In-Law

The Mother-In-Law
By Sally Hepworth
St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250120939, March 2020, 368pp.

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

Whether you can relate to having a Mother-In-Law of your own, or not, this book has you flipping the pages. It’s one of those easy, fast, reads that I am reaching for like crazy during this pandemic.

The Rest of It:

The story is told by the two main characters and alternates between the past and present. When Lucy meets Diana, everything she has heard about Mother-In-Laws is put to the side. After all, she’s not even married to Ollie yet and she’s a pretty agreeable person. Surely, they will get along.

But, Diana is a little different. She’s guarded and although she looks perfectly pleasant and is polite to a fault, there is something off putting about her. She’s a little cold, perhaps. Even to her own children, Ollie and Nettie, she lacks affection and Lucy immediately picks up on it but when she marries Ollie the deal is sealed. Diana is her Mother-In-Law whether she likes it or not.

As the story unfolds, Diana and Tom are asked countless times to help their kids out financially. Although Tom is up for it and certainly has the money to hand out, Diana doesn’t believe in handouts. She believes in hard work and struggle. This is a running theme throughout the story.

One day, Diana ends up dead. How did it happen? Why? Is there more to the story than meets the eye?

Yes.

On top of all the family drama, there is the question of what happened to Diana. This family has a lot of secrets and you know that always makes for good reading. Although I felt like the ending was a tad rushed, I enjoyed this book a lot and read it in just a couple of sittings.

You wouldn’t necessarily think of this book as a club read but there were questions in the back and I must admit, they were pretty thought provoking.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Dutch House

The Dutch House

The Dutch House
By Ann Patchett
Harper, 9780062963673, September 2019, 352pp.

The Short of It:

A dark fairy tale of sorts told in a very modern way. Beautifully written and filled with flawed characters.

The Rest of It:

When Cyril buys a beautiful house for his wife, Elna, he believes it to be the most romantic gesture a man can make towards his wife, but what The Dutch House represents to Elna, is a lifestyle that she can never rise to, one of wealth and opulence. Coming from a convent, her needs are few, or so it seems but after years of living in the house and trying to raise her daughter Maeve and her son Danny, she abandons them for India to work with the poor.

This abandonment is devastating to Maeve and Danny but what ends up being even more devastating is their new stepmother, Andrea. Suddenly, Maeve and Danny are forced to rely on one another and the insular world they build to protect themselves from reality, affects them down the line and impacts their relationships with others.

This was not a perfect book. Some things could have been explored more fully but as I was reading it, I felt the presence of that house. This is an excellent example of a house portrayed as a character in the story. It’s pulsing with life even when lives are falling apart. It’s immune to decay, which isn’t the case for the families who have lived inside it. To some, it’s glittering and beautiful and grand and to others, it’s imposing and intimidating and a reminder of what could never be. I LOVED this aspect of the story. So much conflict in these characters and so much to ponder.

I only keep books which I have loved or ones which I think could be re-read and loved again over and over and The Dutch House falls into that category. I highly recommend it.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.