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The Prodigal Wife    by Marcia Willett order for
Prodigal Wife
by Marcia Willett
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Successful TV gardening host Jolyon is bringing his girlfriend Henrietta home to meet his family. The Chadwicks live on an estate callled The Keep, which has been in the family for over one hundred and sixty years. It is a place of comfort for the family to gather, and the celebration is for Jolyon's birthday. Jolyon is not aware that his mother Maria has come to The Keep to spend time with the Chadwicks, and will be attending his celebration. He has not seen his mother in fifteen years. Jolyon's father Hal, and his stepmother Fliss are concerend about how he will react to the woman who abandoned him when he was just a young boy.

Maria is lost and alone since her husband Adam died suddenly. Maria has regrets about the past and wants to make amends with her son and work on the relationship. Christmas is fast approaching and Maria does not want to be alone. She is worried about her future as her younger son made bad investments with her money and then left for America. Hal is easy going and has welcomed her back into the family, while Fliss feels threatened by her presence. Jolyon refuses to believe she wants to start over, and fears she wants a piece of his fame.

Jolyon warns his mother to give him space and to take things slowly. Hal feels guilty that his marriage to Maria ended because he never got over his love for Fliss since he was very young. Jolyon and Henrietta announce their engagement but they each harbour doubts about whether it will work out. Jolyon fears putting his faith and trust into the hands of another woman after his mother walked out. Henrietta is a child of divorce after her father walked away from her, learning his wife had an affair. Maria knows Jolyon is having a hard time forgiving her but she will never give up hope that they will eventually reconcile. Each Chadwick struggles with acceptance and love but as a family they stand together to show a united front.

The Prodigal Wife is a story of family and the ties that bind. The Chadwicks' past and present are woven together to show the strength and vulnerbilities of each character.

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