Book Review: The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green

I have always been a fan of chick lit and to me the queen of that genre is Jane Green. The Patchwork Marriage is about a couple, Andi and Ethan, who live with Ethan’s two daughters from his first marriage, Emily and Sophia. Andi adores Ethan and his girls but she has been longing for a child of her own and now shes in her forties she feels her clock is ticking. Unfortunately Andi discovers she will probably never be able to have a baby as she has started going through the perimenopause.

Coming to terms with this is hard for Andi but she loves Emily and Sophia as if they were her daughters. Sophia, the youngest of the two, is very loving towards Andi and wishes her to be her real mother.

Emily on the other hand is different story. Emily’s actions and attitudes make up the majority of what happens in the novel. She never warms to Andi who is always bending over backwards trying to get Emily’s love and affection. Ethan is completely blind to how his daughter manipulates situations and always takes Emily’s side when she has arguments with Andi.

The continual tension in the household lasts for a few years until the family dynamic is forced to change by Emily’s teenage pregnancy, discovered when she is seven months gone. This is the first time she really lets her step mother in and some bonding does seem to happen. Andi is extremely supportive of her step daughter through the remainder of her pregnancy and her decision to not put him up for adoption.

For a while everything is going smoothly, Emily is not arguing with Andi and she is enjoying being a new mother. But Emily’s short attention span runs out and she feels she it’s all too much and runs away, leaving Cal with Andi and Ethan.

A few years go by and Andi and Ethan are loving parents to Cal, their marriage that was teetering on the edge of collapse is back to how it was in the beginning. Meanwhile Emily has got her life back on track and meets her soulmate, Michael who she knew back in school. Michael who is adopted has always resented his birth mother for giving him up. Because of his strong feelings on this he encourages Emily to go back and take back her son, something she doesn’t really want.

Emily goes back home and tries to live up to Michael’s fantasy of a ready made family which causes Andi and Ethan a lot of pain as they have raised Cal for three years. Cal in particular is not welcoming to his “Tummy mummy” coming to claim him.

Eventually Emily realises she can’t be a true mother to Cal and she moves to England with Michael to attend art school.

This is a tense family drama and emotion fills every page. It is hard to view this as a chick lit book as there is no true happy endings for everyone, yes Andi and Ethan don’t lose their new son but Emily is still full of guilt and manages to ruin her loving relationship with her father and they will never be the same again. What I especially liked was how the narration went from character to character so you didn’t have to speculate what the others think of Emily’s pregnancy, Andi’s wanting to leave Ethan and Sophia, a much underlooked character seeing her sister has not changed at all in three years.

Rating 5/5

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