This book was originally written as three separate novels, The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let, and also included to interludes Indian Summer of Forsyth and Awaking. Although these books cal be purchased separately, the version I read for this review was the Scribner Paperback Fiction Edition 2002 published by Simon and Schuster. There are a few reasons why I mention this. First off this edition contains all three novels and both interludes combined into one book, which makes it a lot easier to keep with the story when the books are all in one volume.
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The novel primarily focuses on Somas and Irene Forsyth, and the events and consequences that will effect two generations of the Forsyth family. Somas Forsyth was a very successful solicitor, who comes from a well to do family, and is deeply devoted to his wife Irene. In the hope of easing his wifes unhappiness Somas decides to build a house outside of London. Irene Forsyth never came from a well to do family, and upon the death of her father she had to rely totally on her stepmother for support. Despite the fact he persuade her relentlessly, Irene had turned Somas down several times before, with the encouragement of her stepmother, she finally accepted his proposal.
The Man of Property primarily sets the stage for want happens in the next to novels. When Somas cousin June Forsyth became engaged to young Philip Bosinnery she faced one obstacle before her grandfather would allow her to marry. Philip Bosinnery, an architect did not come from a well to do family and had very little money of his own. Since his granddaughter was fond to taking lame ducks under her wing, and Old Jolyan wanted to make sure that Bosinnery was not marrying her only for her money. So he made the condition that Mr. Bosinnery had to be making four hundred a year before they would be allowed to marry. He figured by that time his granddaughter would have grown tried of Mr. Bosinnery and have moved on. June on the other had would not be dismayed by her grandfather, she came up with the brilliant idea of introducing her fiancÚ to her cousin Somas, and convince Somas to let Philip build his house for him. This decision would for ever change the Forsyth Family.
The story does not go into details of what Philip and Irenes affair consisted. We do know however they did spent time together and that they did have a deep affection for each other. Upon Philips death Irene left Somas to make a life over her own almost free of her unhappy marriage. It was another 10 to 12 years however before they finally divorced.
The interlude Indian Summer of Forsyth sets the stage for events that take place in the next novel In Chancery. Old Jolyon never really liked his nephew that much, and he never really got the chance to really know Irene. On a whim he purchased the ill fated house that Somas was building for his wife and moved in with his son , daughter in-law and two grandchildren in tow. One day while in London, Old Jolyon went to visit Irene. What he found was a woman living in a modest flat, and teaching piano lesson, Irene was happy with the life that she had made for herself. Old Jolyon finding a soft spot for his niece often requested her company for dinner, the opera, of just to come and play for him, he even requested that Irene give his young granddaughter Holly piano lessons. Old Jolyon found a soft spot for Irene, and upon his death left her fifteen thousand pounds, of his estate which was to be administered by his son Young Jolyon.
In Chancery and Awaking set the stage for the events that lead up to the final novel of the Forsyth series To Let. Somas finally divorces Irene and marries a young French girl Annette. He is madly in love with her, and hopes to have the child that will be his heir. The day Fleur is born is one of the happiest days of his life. Little does Somas know how his and Irenes past threaten the happiness of his beloved daughter.
Irene herself has remarried to Young Jolyon Forsyth and they have a young son Jon. Although he would never take the place of Jolyons older son Jolly, Jon is the apple of his fathers and mothers eye. Little does Irene know that she and Somass past will tear his heart in two.
To Let, the last and final novel of the Forsyth sage finds Jon and Fleur grow and on a chance meeting the two will fall in love. Little do they know of their parents secret, and it is their parents secret that will tear them apart.
Over this entire novel was very good, it kept my attention. At the end of the book I was sorry that the story ended, and was hoping that it would end on a happier note. The extras such as the family tree help with keeping up with who was related to whom and how they fit into the Forsyth family tree. Also the fact that the version I bought had a three novels in one book as well the two interludes made it easy to read as well. It gave the impression that you where reading one novel instead of three. I highly recommend this novel to others.
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