Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
When aging, popular musician Richie Rossiter dies suddenly, he leaves behind two families: his London family of 23 years-Chrissie and three almost-adult daughters-and his seemingly forgotten first family from the fishing town where he grew up and began his career. Richie's will singles out the wife he never divorced, Margaret, and their adult son, Scott, with surprise bequests, shocking Chrissie and her daughters. The author deftly sketches out, through shifting viewpoints, how family members and former family members regain a sense of purpose after their initial grief. But the family rifts here never seem in danger of becoming real ruptures; everything is wrapped up tidily and inoffensively. VERDICT A best-selling author in England, Trollope (yes, a descendant of Anthony Trollope) also has many U.S. fans, and they will be waiting for this book. Though not the author's best, this is elegantly written domestic fiction-well worth reading for its snappy dialog and head-on tackling of a modern, middle-class family's dilemma.-Laurie A. Cavanaugh, Brockton P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
When popular crooner Richie Rossiter dies, his longtime partner, Chrissie, is left bereft and angered that she never got Richie to divorce his first wife and marry her, providing security for her and their three daughters. In addition, money becomes a serious issue since she was his manager. Then she learns that Richie amended his will to leave a treasured piano and the rights to songs he wrote early in his career to his first wife, Margaret, and their son, Scott. Chrissie, who refused to ever fully acknowledge Richie's first family, is left to wonder whether he actually loved her, while Margaret finds herself enormously relieved to discover that she was remembered. The prolific Trollope skillfully engineers a heartwarming story of renewal and hope as she brings the two families closer together. Scott reaches out to Chrissie's youngest child, providing her with both comfort and a link to her dad's childhood in Newcastle. Hurt feelings and issues of abandonment vie with the impulse to forge ahead and to heal in this intelligent and moving novel of modern family life.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Second family of a British entertainer is unpleasantly surprised by his legacy, in Trollope's latest sensitive depiction of domestic upheaval. Richie Rossiter, whose first wife (and agent) Margaret grew up with him in the fishing and mining towns of Tynemouth and Newcastle, never dreamed of expanding his musical circuit beyond his native Northern England until a much younger fan, Chrissie, approached him after a concert. A successful artistic manager, Chrissie promised to put Richie on the map in London and beyond as a pianist and singer-songwriter. She also enticed him away from Margaret and their son Scott, then 14. Now, established in a fashionable London neighborhood with Richie and their three daughters, Chrissie suffers misgivings over the fact that she and Richie never married. She even buys her own anniversary band of diamonds, albeit industrial ones. When Richie dies suddenly of a heart attack, Chrissie learns he willed his early copyrights and his Steinway piano to Margaret (still his wife) and Scott. Worse, since Chrissie cannot claim a spousal exemption, the rest of his estate will be largely consumed by inheritance taxes. Paralyzed by grief and the threat of imminent destitution, Chrissie resists her friend Sue's advice to sell the family house and give up the piano. Twenty-something daughters Tamsin, with her entry-level job, and Dilly, lovely but listless, are ill-equipped to support themselves. Youngest daughter Amy, 18, who is reluctantly studying for her University entrance exams, reaches out to Scott, now a lawyer in Newcastle, because she wants to learn more about her father's origins. Amy, a flutist, negotiates a diplomatic solution to the piano debacle, and Scott, safely in possession of the Steinwayhe's a passably competent playerinvites Amy to Newcastle, where she discovers a passion for folk music. Margaret, aging in a shore-side cottage with her cat, is both disillusioned and reinvigorated by Richie's unexpected bequest. Trollope (Friday Nights, 2008, etc.) treats her characters with tough love, refusing to either downplay or offer pat solutions to their predicaments. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.