Page turners: Second Honeymoon

If Edie Boyd had her way, children would live at home until their first midlife crisis. Her youngest boy has just moved five stops away on the subway line, but it might as well be an extended expedition to Antarctica as far as the British mum is concerned.

Her husband, Russell, on the other hand, would be happy to help pack the snowshoes. After decades spent on the edge of Edie's peripheral vision, he has been longing for a chance to reconnect. "I was here before the children, and I'm here now," he tells Edie as she clutches Ben's curtains and moans about the emptiness of her life.

Alas for Russell. Their daughter's finances have spiraled out of control, and their oldest boy is in the midst of a personal crisis. The bedrooms start filling up before you can say "empty-nest syndrome." And then Edie lands the lead in an Ibsen play.

Joanna Trollope ("The Rector's Wife") excels at middle-class family dramas, and "Second Honeymoon" is a welcome entry in her canon. Like an overzealous housewife who just can't step away from the vacuum, she succumbs to the impulse to tidy up all the subplots. But Edie, Russell, and their brood are winning enough that fans will want to move in right along with the kids. Grade: B

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