The Daughter-in-law Syndrome
by Stevie Turner
I can still remember my mother’s reaction when, aged 20, I announced that I was engaged to be married. It was my finacée’s 17th birthday and I had made the proposal some six months previously. My mother believed I was throwing my life away, that the young woman she referred to as a ‘floosy’ was certainly not good enough for me. That was 54 years ago and ‘the floosy’ and I are still happily married. It took a long time for the pair of them to become reconciled to the fact of our love for each other.
I mention this to illustrate how easily I can relate to the problems faced by Stevie Turner’s female protagonist, Arla and her controlling mother-in-law Edna. After 30 years of marriage, Arla still feels ostracised by her mother-in-law and her husband’s two sisters. She is frustrated by her husband’s apparent indifference and his determination to support and defend Edna. Arla engages a counsellor who helps her to analyse these feelings but it is only when her son, Stuart, introduces the woman he intends to marry that understanding begins to dawn.
I found all of the principle characters in this novel to be entirely believable. The nuances of relationships; the little irritations we accept rather than cause upset by pointing them out, the lies, not all of them little, we tell to justify our prejudices, are all well realised. I particularly liked Ric, the husband, and the way he and Arla interacted with each other.
Stevie has a section of her blog devoted to feminism and its heroines so it was a surprise to find that the woman in this story who plays the most important role in helping Arla and her in-laws to settle their differences is someone whose sole ambition is to be a stay-at-home wife. Stevie evidently believes in the importance of women being able to make such choices without being subjected either to peer pressure or financial contraints.
This is a book that will be unlikely to appeal to many men. Many women, on the other hand, will find much to enjoy in this perceptive analysis of contemporary family relationships.
(This review has appeared elsewhere.)
Stevie Turner has been previously promoted on Reading Recommendations. Frank Parker answered a call on my blog for reviews and sent me this he’d written earlier. Frank is a published author and writes the blog, Frank Parker’s author site: A Septuagenarian’s ramblings