An Unsuitable Match by Joanna Trollope

J. L. Harland • June 3rd, 2020

When Rose Woodrowe meets Tyler Masson, whom she last saw when they were both teenagers, and falls in love, she throws caution and her carefully constructed life after divorce to the winds. Her grown-up children are worried and, when Tyler proposes and Rose accepts, things get even more fraught. Will the new relationship survive under the pressure of family dynamics, money and the fact that Rose and Tyler don’t actually know each other very well?

Rose is swept off her feet by handsome Brit, Tyler Masson, returning to the UK as a widower from America after thirty years. It is not long before he suggests she might sell her valuable London mews property and buy a cottage in the country with him, thereby creating a new start for them and giving an early inheritance lump sum to each of her three children.

The story is a delicious exploration of the way in which we can deceive ourselves. Joanna Trollope captures the inner landscape of people’s minds brilliantly and we follow Rose’s gradual realisation of how different Tyler’s character, attitude and values are from hers and how unhappy she will be if she marries him.

Things slowly unravel as Rose gets further into the engagement, starting with the huge wrench of putting her house on the market. Her children, particularly her eldest daughter Laura, feel her increasing discomfort, agreeing she needs to be ‘rescued’, even though Rose herself does not acknowledge the predicament she is in - to them, herself or Tyler - until the final part of the story.

There is wit, fun and sharp observation of human nature viewed across generations and cultures with sparkling dialogue. The craze for sourdough is one, where Tyler’s son, Sam, says, with no equivocation, of his bakery business, Soughdough Boy, that sourdough is the path, a way of life.

The locations are mainly urban: London and the States with, of course, the exception of the impossibly perfect, fantasy cottage in the country conjured up by Tyler, to be paid for by Rose. Against this backdrop, universal themes play out about the differing interests of generations, questions of inheritance and property, and personal goals and values.

An Unsuitable Match by Joanna Trollope is published by Mantle. It is her 21st novel. Buy it now from your local bookshop.

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