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Book Club with Dick Warner

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

This month the viewers chose The Other Family by Joanna Trollope as The Afternoon Show's book of the month. We have invited viewers to read along with us and send in their thoughts and to participate with their book clubs. Today we will chat about the book with the writer broadcaster and Irish Examiner books' reviewer Dick Warner and 3 members of a Dublin book Club from the National Council of the Blind.

Audiobooks are an increasingly popular way of "reading" a book. Our book club are from the National Council for the Blind and they won the Book Club of the Year at the Ennis Book Club Festival in March.

3 Book Club members:

1. Geraldine O'Toole
2. Peg Lyons
3. Maureen O'Connor

Synopsis of The Other Family

A musician called Richie Rossiter dies unexpectedly and he leaves behind him two families. There is a wife and son in Newcastle in northern England who he abandoned many years before. And there is his second family in London - Chrissie and their three daughters. He never divorced his first wife and therefore never married Chrissie, but he did make a will dividing his estate between his two families.

The result is a complex story of loss, love and loyalty as Richie's death reveals many things that he kept hidden during his life. Both the surviving families also have to confront, and overcome, the jealousy they feel for each other. In the end the relationship between the two families is re-written in a way Richie could never have imagined and we learn as much about the dead character as we do about the living ones.

Geraldine's comments:

It was a good family story. She found the father a lovable but very selfish man and he did do wrong to both families. Chrissie was so upset when Richie died she felt sorry for her, but she should have insisted on him marrying her as she was left with very little financial support. The eldest girl Tamsin was very selfish. Dilly was very mixed up, but Aimee seemed to know what she wanted. G loved Scott and Margaret. Geraldine feels Richie was more in love with his music than his women. She loves the way he left the music and the piano to Margaret and Scott. Scott left with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. She found it a believable story in this day and age.

She enjoyed Fenella's reading of the book. Just about the right length of story. Just getting dug into one character when it'd jump to the next family. She'd recommend it to friends. Mark - 8/10.

Peg's comments:

She loved it! She loved the reader, a gorgeous reader. She couldn't put it down and will re-read it again. She thought it was very human. She loved the emphasis on music. She loves music and used to be in choirs. This was more light-hearted than a lot of books that she has read lately.
Her favourites were Aimee and Scott. Margaret was very uppity, too ambitious, but she felt sorry for her and how she had been treated by Richie. She loved Richie! Poor old Chrissie, felt sorry for her but she should have made him marry her. She loved the north of England accents, very earthy. They are very straight talking. She hasn't read Joanna Trollope before but she will read her again. Mark - 8/10.

Maureen's comments:

She found it delightful. The dynamics of family and second family are interesting and the part of the piano player was interesting. She found Richie manipulative, Tamsin business like and Scott and Margaret likeable. Even though Richie was dead he was very present. Aimee was the most compassionate, but also called Chrissie selfish which was very important. Maureen could identify with Sue's kind of hectic family life - a straight talker, trying to move Chrissie on. Chrissie was very controlling. She loved Margaret and her cat Dawson! She was very honest, but didn't seem to give Scott his due. She's read a few of Joanne Trollope's books but this is her favourite. She doesn't of ten like the characters. But found this enjoyable and the characters very interesting. It's not too heavy, it's the human condition, it's family. Mark - 10/10.


The Other Family by Joanna Trollope
Book €14.99
Audio (abridged) €22.55 - 5 cds lasting 6 hours, as read by Fenella Woolgar
Publisher: Random House Group

Useful Information:

If you have a problem with your sight and would like to contact the National Council of the Blind, please call 01 8642266. Or log on to