'Observant and emphatic' The Sunday Times
Julia Hunter and Kate Bain have found true happiness with men old enough to be their fathers. Julia organises her husband Hugh and their cherubic twins with ruthless efficiency and Kate has lived with James, for eight years, and although she refuses to marry him, she's apparently devoted to him. Hugh and James, lifelong friends, feel blessed indeed.
But age differences cannot be ignored forever and when James accidentally knocks a fiercely independent spinster from her bicycle a chain of events is set off in which many suppressed discontents and frustrations emerge. Kate begins to seek out friends of her own age and Julia's career begins to blossom just as her husband's starts to decline ...
The tranquil lives of the men and the girls seem shattered as new relationships develop and old anxieties surface.
The men in this delightfully sage novel of domesticity by bestselling British author Trollope ( The Rector's Wife ) are lifelong friends Hugh and James--each 60-ish, sexy, appealing. The ``girls''--Julia and Kate--are a fair bit younger. Hugh, a handsome TV celeb, suffers when his popularity fades while his perfect wife Julia, lovely mother of their angelic twins, bursts into the lucrative limelight of a new TV career. Fretting resentfully, Hugh decamps. His friend James, a comfortably well-off writer/tutor, lives with Kate, who is a waitress at Pasta Please and volunteers at a woman's shelter. In search of a trendier, independent lifestyle, restless Kate finds a flat and tries to whisk away her teenaged daughter, funky-haired Joss. Both families fall apart, both interact with each other and draw into their orbits a clutch of splendidly drawn minor characters--choral kibbitzers and would-be paramours--who activate the fateful choices of James and Kate and Hugh and Julia. Noteworthy among them is shrewd, venerable Miss Bachelor, regularly setting all straight with her pithy wisdom. Underlying the novel's richly orchestrated movement of leave-takings and homecomings is the view that a loving, cozy home life--whether rowdy or serene--is a blessing to be trifled with at one's peril. Insightful and prolific Trollope, a descendent of Victorian novelist Anthony, also writes romances as Caroline Harvey. Literary Guild alternate.