Sunday, April 11, 2010

This is My Daughter by Roxana Robinson

Can you really build a new family from the broken chunks of two old ones? Or is détente the best you’re going to get?

An undercurrent of unease in this novel about a second marriage. The new couple is far more suited to each other than the former spouses, however, the marriage is complicated/threatened by loyalties to existing children. Is a stepparent expected to “love” the stepchild? Are you a bad person if you don’t? Do you harm the stepchild if you don’t? The novel is put together with a lot of craft, so that the tension builds, though many scenes are ponderous and could easily be shortened. Also, the motivations leading to the conclusion are a little tenuous, but necessary if the plot is to land on the happy ending. However, I really liked the way the characters were three dimensional – everyone is a mixture of saint and villain. Finally, it’s an overview of a certain kind of WASP lifestyle – servants and summer houses. That on its own was interesting.

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