Daughters-in-law, By Joanna Trollope


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In recent years Joanna Trollope's fiction has been rooted in the smart urban enclaves of Hoxton, Highgate and Hammersmith. This latest work returns to the provincial territory of her earlier novels, opening in the summer blaze of an English country wedding.

The well-judged first chapter sees Anthony Brinkley contemplating the silk-swathed behind of the woman about to become his third daughter-in-law.

For Anthony the arrival of a new female in the family is a perk, while he can sense his wife's dismay "escaping like puffs of hot steam through cracks in the earth's crust".

Over the course of the novel, all three of Brinkley's daughters-in-law take flight as Mrs Brinkley senior refuses to surrender her place at the head of the family pecking order.