From the Publisher
“Something we see all too rarely these days: a genuinely grown-up work of fiction, by, about, and for grown-ups.”—Washington Post
“A rich, mature novel dealing with growth, change, loss, and survival . . . as entertaining as it ought to be enduring.”—Booklist
“Trollope is at her best analyzing the complex strands of DNA that bind families—and sometimes threaten to strangle them.”—People
“Engaging . . . artfully constructed.”—USA Today
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stepping away from her usual provinces and into more cosmopolitan territory, Trollope (The Choir; The Rector's Wife) delivers an insightful and thoroughly engrossing story of 39-year-old twin sisters whose lives and fortunes change dramatically over the course of a year. Lizzy has four kids, a rambling house in a charming English town, a wonderful husband and a flourishing gallery/antique shop business. Frances, her twin, tends to her small travel firm, is single and has always been Lizzie's quiet supporter and soul mate. On a business trip through southern Spain, the reticent Frances falls for an urbane, married Spaniard and is suddenly too involved in her own blossoming affairs (business and love) to play cheerleader for her sister. While Frances's life is lifting off, Lizzie and her husband run into devastating financial problems. Lizzie loses her beloved home, takes a dull office job to help make ends meet and is consumed with jealousy at her sister's new life. As Frances comes into her own, her life serves as a touchstone for the other characters, who begin to measure their gumption and personal happiness against hers. Caught up in all of this are the twins' parents, Barbara and William, as well as a woman who, through her longstanding affair with William, has become a kind of aunt and confessor to the twins. With sparkling dialogue, Trollope brings all of her characters, adults and children, to full life while managing to bestow unforgettable glimpses of Spain in all its melancholy and magnificence. She makes her readers want to drop everything in order to keep on reading. BOMC selection; paperback rights to Berkley; author tour. (Feb.) FYI: A Spanish Lover was a #1 bestseller in England in both hardcover and paperback.
If a talent for storytelling is a family trait, then Trollope (The Choir, LJ 10/1/95), a descendant of Anthony Trollope, has inherited it in spades, as her new book proves. From the title one might expect a fluffy romance, but this novel offers much more. It is also the story of a family, the trials and tribulations of ordinary people. Frances and Lizzie are the twin daughters of William and Barbara. Lizzie is married, with four children. Frances is single and owns a travel agency. On a business trip to Seville, Frances meets the man who will later become her "Spanish lover." The affair between Frances and Luis Gomez Moreno becomes the catalyst that causes shifts and changes in the whole family, for better and worse. Trollope constructs a beautiful plot, and her descriptions of Spain will have you itching to call your travel agent. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/96.]-Dawn L. Anderson, North Richland Hills P.L., Tex.
Love comes late but abundantly to Frances, long pitied by her twin sister and her family for always being an also-ran.
Like her illustrious ancestor, Trollope (The Choir, 1995, etc.) is a clear-eyed recorder of the sudden domestic tempests that roil even the most placid backwaters of English life, tempests fueled by the ties of family affection and habit. As the family gathers for Christmas at the lovingly restored Georgian house of Lizzie and Robert in a village near Bath, long-simmering discontents and new threats from the outside appear to threaten both Lizzie's marriage and her relationship with twin sister Frances. Lizzie, the dominant twin, seems to have it all: a beautiful home, four healthy children, and a loving husband with whom she is a partner in a successful gallery and design shop. Frances, on the other hand, has drifted through life pitied by Lizzie for not fulfilling her potential. Though she owns a prospering travel business, Frances, now in her late 30s, is unmarried, and she resents Lizzie's sympathy, which she finds condescending. But when Frances meets and falls in love with Luis Moreno, a married Spanish businessman, Lizzie is ashamed and surprised by her envious reaction to Frances's happiness. While Frances's love affair unfolds, Lizzie's secure life crumbles: The recession hurts her business; she quarrels with Robert; they lose their house; and she has to take a dull secretarial job to bring in money. Frances's decision to have Luis's baby and live in Spain as a single mother brings Lizzie's long-buried envy of the newly independent Frances to a head. The sisters clash, and Frances in turn helps Lizzie admit her jealousy and self-pity. Life improves for Lizzie and Robert, while Frances turns to face new challenges, confidently, with no regrets.
A wonderfully wise and bracingly honest novel that celebrates happiness and the good, quiet things that sustain the human spirit.