Edie Boyd's three children are finally grown and living on their own. She should be thrilled, but instead finds herself mooning around her too-quiet, too-tidy house on the verge of a serious funk. On the other hand, Russell Boyd (who loves their children just as much) is exhilarated by the luxury of finally having his wife to himself.

But before you can say "empty nest," the Boyd offspring begin making their way back home. First it's eldest son Matthew, whose longtime girlfriend buys a fancy apartment that he can't afford to share. Then Rosa loses her job and her place to stay, neither of which she cared for anyway. And somewhere in there, Edie takes in the vulnerable young co-star from the play in which she's appearing. Youngest son Ben has moved in with his girlfriend and her mother, but it seems only a matter of time before he's home, too. Suddenly, the house is once again filled to the rafters, and Edie is left wondering if perhaps she should be more careful what she asks for.

Joanna Trollope's Second Honeymoon is another wonderful dispatch from the British novelist, who reports from the front line of home and family like no one else. Trollope manages, book after book, to keep her unique take on modern living not just fresh, but intriguing. She is at her most sublime when writing about the most conventional details of and musings on daily life. Consider Edie's meditation on, of all things, eating breakfast: "He ate like Ben, with that peculiar combination of indifference and absorption that seemed to characterize hungry young men, consuming two bowls of cereal and a banana and four slices of toast as if they were simultaneously vital and of no consequence at all." 

Second Honeymoon is Trollope at her very best: precise and engaging. In true Trollope fashion, she crafts a story filled with surprises, nothing like what you'd hoped it would be. Somehow, it's better.
Amy Scribner writes from Olympia, Washington.
Read reviews of Joanna Trollope's Girl from the South and Next of Kin.


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