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I guess, without realising it you could say I've grown up with Jane Green, who it turns out is exactly the same age as me. When I checked my bookshelves I've acquired a surprising number of her books from the very good "The Beach House" to the less memorable "Life Swap". This, her latest book is a more mature and thought provoking novel than her previous books and I enjoyed reading it, perhaps as I could relate to the 40-something heroine, Andi. The novel is about what happens after (slightly maturer) boy meets girl and the the reality of the baggage of former relationships and children kick in.
"The Patchwork Marriage" is the tale of a family made up of Ethan, dad to Emily and Sophia who marries Andi, who has always wanted children but finds out she can't have her own. He has previously been married to Janice who has been far from a text book mum. The story follows the new family over several years as Andi tries to be the best step mother she can, an easy task with the younger more compliant Sophia and rather difficult where Emily is concerned. I thought the family dynamic was interesting, in particular the father-daughter relationship which showed just what could happen when a child wraps daddy around her little finger.
Though I saw the crisis point for the family in the novel coming a mile off, I still enjoyed the twists and turns and I thought the novel as a whole was well written, pacey and worth the read. Some of the dialogue was a little unrealistic and I'm not sure why Green has embraced American settings so wholeheartedly, when she seems much more comfortable as a writer when writing about her native country the UK rather than America where she now resides, but this is mild criticism of what, overall I thought was a good book. Recommended.
Currently available on amazon for £3.86, I read a review copy
I have read a couple of Jane Green's books and when I saw this on offer in Tesco I thought I would buy it as I had enjoyed her previous work. I do not think it is as good as what she has written before but i am glad I stuck at it as actually it was very well written.
The story tells of Andi and her marriage to Ethan. It begins from Andi's perspective telling about how difficult she is finding being a step mother to Ethan's two children when she so desperately wants a child of her own. Andi struggles hard to be a good mother to Emily who is seventeen and constantly trying to play her father off against her and is the cause of many family conflicts. Andi begins to question her marriage and whether all the drama that Emily creates is worth it. As the story progresses we get to see other peoples' perspectives and how they feel about what is going on and what has gone before and this opens up a whole new image as to what Andi is seeing. The story progresses to tell how when a family crisis happens how it impacts on others and the stress it can put upon them.
The characters are very well formed. Andi, who begins the story, is going through a difficult time in her life, you can feel her anxieties and concerns. As a reader it was very easy to relate to her and feel her frustration which I think is a sign of a very well written book. I stopped a few times and asked myself what I would do in her predicament and I concluded that I would be as confused as she was. The other main character in this is Emily, the step daughter. Part way through the book we get to hear the story through her own words and this made it possible to understand her a little better and get to know her instead of it just being through Andi's point of view. She was volatile and miserable, constantly lashing out, it was easy to hate her at one point then feel terribly sorry for her the next. I think the way that Jane Green created these characters was very special, you did get to understand how they all slotted together, how families were created because of them and how it lead to so many dramas. By the end of the book i felt as though I knew them very well and actually I was quite sad to finish it.
What I thought
Now the book i have given 4 stars, not 5. The main reason for this is because it was very slow to get starting. The first 150 pages were mainly just introducing the set up and explaining who everyone was. There was little action at all and an awful lot of description and going back to explaining things. I felt that this really made the book drag, I know that it set the scene but it was quite a laborious process and there were times when I wondered whether or not to keep going with this book.
Aside from the above complaint the rest of the book was good enough to warrant 4 stars. The story was nothing spectacular, it wasn't full of hard-hitting drama or crazily dreamt up storylines but actually it was quite a normal story which I imagine many families face and this made it very believable and helped me as a reader to relate to it and question how I would react in the same situations. I thought the characters were very well made up, they were easy to relate to, I did feel as though I knew them by the end of the book which I think is a sign of a very clever writer.
What I also liked is that I never knew wat was going to happen. Was Andi going to leave Ethan? What would Emily do next? And I think it was this curiosity that made me continue to read on in the beginning when it was quite a slow start.
In all I would recommend this book. It isn't the best by Jane Green but it is decent enough and one which I am glad I stuck with and finished.
This is a review of the 2012 book "The Patchwork Marriage" by Jane Green which I recently swapped on the readitswapit website. I have read and enjoyed other books by this author so was expecting a good read with this one.
In The Patchwork Marriage, Andi has married her boyfriend Ethan and become Stepmom to his two girls, Emily and Sophia. Sophia (the younger sister) loves Andi and accepts her in her life, but Emily has issues with her and is quite mean and nasty to her until she needs her. Ethan their father feels torn between his daughter and new wife's love and is trying to give Andi the baby she wants but her age and peri menopausal state are proving to make this difficult. The book explores the relationship between Andi and Ethan and pushes their love to the limit with the trying circumstances his daughter pushes upon them.
In addition to the main family is Janice, Ethan's ex-wife and mother to the girls who is an alcoholic and very unstable, so cannot be relied upon for support. Topher and Drew are the gay couple next door who lend an ear to Andi's woes. Michael is the boy next door who Emily is friends with from childhood and he comes back in to her life later in the book.
I really felt like I was coming in to the second book of a trilogy when I read this as it seemed to start off with a few assumptions that you knew who Andi was and relationships seemed to be already established with the reader. When I checked on Amazon, it was a stand alone book so this was not the case.
It might just be the American writing but I found some of the women's names were often female spellings of men's names and this got a bit confusing at times as I tried to work out who was who.
Isabel and Greg are friends that have a wedding very early in the book, Andi is instrumental in the wedding planning yet we never hear another thing about them from the book so that chapter is a bit of a waste of time in the story. I can't help but feel some of the editing made this chapter in the book pointless, other than it making Emily decide she wanted to do something different in her life.
I enjoyed reading this book to a point. It didn't blow me away but I did want to know what happened with Andi and Ethan's relationship. I have deliberately left out some of the story line in this review as it would just spoil it for the reader if I mention what happens here.
This was an OK read, non taxing and quite enjoyable but not one that I would bother re reading and I can think of a few friends who I can pass it on to so it's not that bad a book but I think it was a bit stretched out in places to fill a few extra places. Perhaps a better holiday read that you can abandon whilst abroad so it doesn't fill your luggage allowance on the way home!
I've been reading Jane Green's books for quite a few years now and I've generally really enjoyed them. However, that enjoyment is nothing compared to how I felt reading her latest book, 'The Patchwork Marriage' which is absolutely brilliant! I was completely hooked from the first page until the very last and I didn't want to put it down at all.
'The Patchwork Marriage' tells the story of Andi and Ethan. They married when Andi was approaching her forties and she became stepmother to Ethan's two daughters, Emily and Sophia. There was always the idea that they would add to the family but the early onset of the menopause put paid to those hopes. That would probably be OK if the family was a happy one. Although younger stepdaughter, Sophia, loves her and they have a good relationship, Emily hates her and is openly antagonistic and Andi hates to see how she is able to manipulate her father. Also, Emily's actions are driving a wedge between Andi and Ethan.
With Emily, one drama follows another, and all the family suffer in the fallout. Just when Andi feels that, although she loves Ethan, she can not take it a moment longer, Emily delivers the most unexpected bombshell that threatens to shatter this already fragile family, into a thousand pieces. How does the family move forward and will they survive as a family? These are all questions that you will want answered in this wonderful book.
'The Patchwork Marriage' is one of the best books that I have read in a long while and definitely the best that I have read from Jane Green. The story is painful but real and you can't help but get caught up in the daily dramas of this unhappy family. Any woman who has ever found themselves in the position of stepmother will identify fully with Andi and the way that she feels that she has to walk on eggshells around the troubled Emily. The complexities of step families are explored extremely well and the reader is able to share all the angst and emotion that these bring with them.
I thought that 'The Patchwork Marriage' is extremely well written and I did not find my interest waning for a second. The story was well paced with some lighter moments interwoven with the more poignant ones. There were moments that made me smile but I also have to confess that there were quite a few moments that made me cry. It's definitely advisable to have the tissues handy!
I loved all of the characters in 'The Patchwork Marriage' and felt for them all in different ways. Jane Green is so very good at making her characters believable and helping the reader to understand them. Andi, Ethan, Sophia and Emily - I found them all fascinating as well as all of the minor characters that are integral to the story.
'The Patchwork Marriage' is a fabulous book and is sure to appeal to all Jane Green fans. I definitely recommend it and I expect that you will not want to put it down.
I am very grateful to the publishers for sending me a copy to review.
'The Patchwork Marriage'is currently available in paperback on amazon for £7.86 (April 2012).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.curiousbookfans.co.uk