- Publisher: Black Swan (January 1, 2005)
- ASIN: B0084GR8TS
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Brother & Sister
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Top Customer Reviews
The rippling effects of the decision to search for birth mothers dominate this carefully constructed novel. Nathalie's adoptive mother, not surprisingly, is devastated that both of "her" children need to find "other" mothers. The birth mothers, by turn, have created new lives of their own, each dealing with her "lost" child in her own way. Nathalie's husband, David's wife, and their children are also affected, not least by the fact that Nathalie and David choose to share their feelings with each other, rather than with their spouses. As the ripple effects continue, other characters, even including employees, are drawn into the emotional vortex, and unexpected complications send the action in surprising directions with new twists and turns.
Trollope reveals the inner lives of her characters through beautifully realized dialogue, and she pays particular attention to the details of personality and domestic relationships.Read more ›
The structure was a clever one: Natalie and David, with different birth mothers are adopted into the same family, each now feels something is missing in their lives, and they are each closer to each other than they are to their partners. Jealousy and fear of loss entwine, leaving everyone unsettled.
The birth mothers' stories are poignant and compelling, as is the struggle and growth of Lynne, the adoptive mother. Natalie's partner and David's wife feel understandably left out of their search, but struggle with their own issues of identity, intimacy and control.
For me, this novel provides an argument for open adoption, at least giving the children a narrative of their own beginnings, and the birth parents some information about the progress of their children if they wish it, or at best a completely open situation where everyone stays, to some extent, a part of each other's lives. But then, that wouldn't make a very interesting novel.
The issues in the book are riveting. How our sense of family can be threatened by change and impacts each member of the group shines through. I found it particularly significant that as David and Nathalie find birth mothers Carole and Cora, the reality of these women is a shock to how they had been imagined. Equally fascinating is the dynamic within Carole's family as her husband Connor is supportive and son Martin short circuits finding that he is suddenly not the oldest of his mother's sons.
The characters are all deep. However, the story does take unexpected turns that like an unwanted half brother were not entirely welcome. Nathalie's live-in boyfriend Steve's affair seemed strange to me. We are introduced to him being a stable and supportive mate who then experiences lethal doses of insecurity. The same is true for David's wife Marnie whose insecurity over David's connection to his adoptive sister Nathalie causes anxieties and odd behavior. That the search then results in the ultimate schism of the bond between brother and sister is even less welcome. Satisfying elements of the story are with the adoptive Lynne and her working through her feelings and the scene with son David where he confirms his bond with his adoptive mother. I also enjoyed the exploration into Cora's world and the social situation that brought her to give up her baby.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nathalie and David are the adopted children of Ralph and Lynne Dexter. Now in their 30s with families of their own, they decide to search for their birth mothers. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Paula Vince
There was something about the book that left me cold - maybe I just don't like reading about dysfunction in relationships all that much. Read morePublished on May 24, 2014 by Rebecca
I found this a bit dull and eventless. It took me about half the book to really get into it. In the end I just skimmed the last few chapters, I couldn’t be bothered reading it... Read morePublished on March 16, 2014 by Sarah Frost
Love this book, started a bit slow but well worth the read.
Love her story telling of families and how everything always come together in the end.
Complicated story. Hurt many innocent people Adoption is not always a good thing. I would never have adopted a child.Published on May 12, 2013 by Frances Schwendeman
I love the detail in Trollope's books. I always feel as if I know her characters and I can see them in my mind.Published on April 26, 2013 by Sunny Day
I was disappointed--the characters were whiney and overdramatic, and all but one of the kids were horrid brats! Yeeks!
Couldn;t find anyone to like except Cora. Read more
Needed a quiet lazy morning, so I curled up in my favorite squishy soft chair and read for hours. Finished another Joanna Trollope novel, Brother and Sister, which was very good. Read morePublished on March 3, 2012 by Dana R. Casella
this novel shows how very talented,ms. trollope really is. her insights on adopted children are excellent. in addition,she really understands parenting and sibling relatonships.Published on November 14, 2011 by L.I. LINDA