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Summary

Merrion Palmer has been Judge Guy Stockdale's mistress for the last seven years and his wife and two grown-up sons know absolutely nothing about her. Up until now, Guy and Merrion have enjoyed a blissfully, uncomplicated relationship in stolen moments in Merrion's flat, and to the rest of the world, Guy has played the part of model husband, father and grandfather.

But now the time has come for things to change. Guy has become conscious of wasted years and he wants to share his relationship with Merrion with the world. He wants, dammit, to marry her. Yet he is quite unprepared for the storm that will follow...

©2009 Joanna Trollope (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"The court official leaned closer. 'What's gone past', he said, 'is not just an advocate, any old lady advocate. What's gone past is his Honour's totty.'" And what's going past is the life of Guy Stockdale, a 62-year-old judge, who has been married forever, has two sons--Simon and Alan--and three grandchildren. For the past seven years, he's also had a mistress. Merrion Palmer is intelligent, attractive, and half Guy's age, which also makes her younger than both Simon and Alan. Her dad died when she was a toddler and she's well aware that Guy is something of a father substitute. For years the role of mistress has suited her, but, suddenly, this style of relationship isn't enough for either of them. They've both had enough of sneaking around and avoiding people, so Guy has momentously made up his mind to leave his wife, Laura, and marry Merrion. Marrying the Mistress dives into the shock waves that buffet the Stockdale family after Guy leaves Laura. The novel addresses the question of how his sons are going to cope, the explosive opinions of his forthright daughter-in-law Carrie and what his teenage grandchildren make of it all. Can any of them avoid taking sides? Should they? And what about the abandoned wife, Laura, a woman apparently so long-sufferingly self-sacrificing she makes Mother Teresa look selfish? From queen of the saga Joanna Trollope comes a dexterous portrayal of the causes and effects of marital breakdown." (Amazon.com review)

What listeners say about Marrying the Mistress

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Joanna Trollope at her best !

Would you listen to Marrying the Mistress again? Why?

Joanna Trollope explores family life presenting the intimate emotional heart of it. This book is so respectful of the validity of all the characters needs and allows the reader to share their pain and confusion in such an intimate but gritty manner.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Unhappy Families

The father of the family decides to marry his mistress of seven years, but he needs to divorce his wife first. The sons are torn as to how best support each parent. I found it difficult to feel pity for the wife, as although she was hard done by, she emotionally blackmailed everybody throughout; ignoring her own children and grandchildren's pain.

4 people found this helpful

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An absorbing read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, beautifully read and full of insight into family psyche

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jack - Because he was growing up and learning from his own and other people's experiences.

Have you listened to any of Lindsay Duncan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes, Brother & Sister. I felt this book was marginally more insightful.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The surprise ending and the reasons behind it.

Any additional comments?

I felt this book showed Joanna Trollope's empathy and amazing insight into the feelings experienced by people in their interactions with others, particularly as they relate to different aspects of love within a family.

3 people found this helpful

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Good story, stupendously irritating narrator

The author has written yet another well paced and interesting story. The narrator has a beautiful voice but a supremely irritating habit of only half speaking words when she uses a quiet voice - which she does quite a lot. Any word ending in ‘s’ or a similar sound is only half spoken, so grass becomes gra and face becomes fa. Other words seem to get squashed into hardly being audible. The listener has to concentrate hard to follow the story - it is infuriating.

2 people found this helpful

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Classic Trollope

I really like the characters. They feel real and sensitively observed. The plot is well set up but ending feels abrupt and incomplete so reason not 5 star for me

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slightly out of date but v enjoyable

I am a Joanna Trollope fan so am biased, but her insightful writing of family life came to the full in this story. Read many years back but so delightfully read by Lindsay Duncan.

1 person found this helpful

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I really enjoyed this book

Well scripted and performed by the beautifully-voiced Lindsay Duncan. Will be put into my 'Listen Again Sometime' collection!

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Splendid

I read this book years ago, accidentally found it in Audible, liked the sample reading and thought I'd give it a go.

So glad I did. There were bits I'd forgotten, bits I'd remember just before they happened. It's Joanna Trollope doing what she does, showing the sort of mess a family can just slide into, how something quite unexpected can not only awaken them to said mess, but show them a way to sort it out. And brilliantly have them do so. You can't go from one of her books to another without a break, or the pattern spoils the interweaving of the situations. It was good to revisit this one.

It was, also, a delight to revisit it in the more than capable hands (or voice) of Lindsay Duncan. Absolutely spot on! I was particularly entertained by the voices she used for Laura, the difficult mother. Excellent.

It's not intellectual, it's certainly NOT froth. It's keenly observant of personal tangles. It's a good listen not taxing but which will capture your attention.

1 person found this helpful

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A good Joanna Trollope book well read

As usual this book is entertaining and well written with a good storyline. Lindsay Duncan’s voice suited the story and her calm tones made it a pleasure to listen. I strongly recommend this to others.

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Enjoyed!

It was good to listen to a Joanna Trollope story after many years of reading her books.
Lindsay Duncan is so recognisable by her voice it is hard not to picture her instead of the characters.

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  • Minneapolis listener
  • 22-05-21

Ending at cross-purposes with novel!

In a novel in which everyone had something to say, and sometimes none too gracefully, this book ends in a disappointing and almost miserly manner.

My real problems though were with the quality of the narration — muddy and breathy, hard to make out. It was bad enough for me to have to give it three tries before succeeding. And for the nasty way the youngers in every generation spoke to the elders. Sad and startling.

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  • Jenny
  • 11-10-12

My least favorite Joanna Trollope book

What would have made Marrying the Mistress better?

I personally didn't enjoy the narrator of this title - I don't know if it was her inflection, or the writing, but I thought the characters were on the whole awful people.

Would you ever listen to anything by Joanna Trollope again?

I've previously really enjoyed all of the previous Trollope books - would consider another one.

How could the performance have been better?

Different narrator definitely.

What character would you cut from Marrying the Mistress?

The daughters Rachel and Emma - horrible girls, spoilt.

Any additional comments?

Just overall completely unimpressed.

1 person found this helpful