An Unsuitable Match

by Joanna Trollope

Monday, April 5, 2021

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I have a soft spot for Joanna Trollope, but I got kind of annoyed with this one. I think that might have been the point though. The characters all grated on me, though they were all reasonably real seeming people, they could see faults in the others, but not in themselves, and their imperfect relationships with each other were driving me nuts. But real life’s like that too.

The “Unsuitable Match” is between two previously married sixty-somethings, and it’s mostly only unsuitable in the eyes of Rose’s grown-up children. Tyler’s children are much more reasonable about their Dad’s prospective remarriage, but that’s mostly because they don’t seem to really care so there are issues there too. The main issue is that Rose owns a million pound London mews house (I did a quick Rightmove search, as a million pounds seemed a low price, I still think it seems very low for what’s described) and Tyler doesn’t seem to own much at all. For a lot of the book I felt like it was a good parable about how property wealth doesn’t make you happy, it just makes everyone act weird around you. The characters here are fabulously privileged and yet they end up fighting over what seems like nonsense to me. There are places where it doesn’t make much sense: one of the characters seems to want her mother to sell her house in order to fund her own plane ticket to New York, and no one points out that this might be slight overkill.

In the end it all works out ok of course, and most everyone ends up happy, though not in the ways you might have expected. The relationships of the children are sometimes more interesting than the one between the parents. Having fought the characters for half the book I was disappointed to see them go. It felt a bit like the interesting stuff was about to start when we got to the end of the book, rather than it all being over.