A Passionate Man

by Joanna Trollope

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Featured image for A Passionate Man

I’ve read Joanna Trollope’s novels for years and generally think I liked the earlier ones more than the later books. When I was adding all my reading & book records to Goodreads & LibraryThing recently I was surprised to find this book popping up as unread as I thought I had read all of the earlier books at least. I expected to suddenly remember the story part of the way through and realise that I had read it before but I’m pretty certain this one was new to me. Or completely forgotten which is just as good!

Despite reading all of them I always start off these books thinking they are going to be rubbish… they are full of characters who appear at first glance to be rather stereotyped examples of the upper middle classes, people with big houses, good jobs, stable relationships, long family histories verging on the aristocratic, perfect children effortlessly kept in private schools etc. But what I enjoy is that things are never quite as they seem and that Trollope plays with the stereotypes and rather makes fun of her characters along the way. She nearly always writes about women and despite the title this book is mostly about the women surrounding the men. I never did figure out which man was supposed to be the passionate one, there are two obvious possibilities as far as I can see; and Liza Logan, wife of one of them, and daughter-in-law of the other was a far more interesting character than either.

Published in 1990 this feels rather like a period piece now.