The Necessary Marriage

The Necessary Marriage by Elisa Lodato

Elisa Lodato's The Necessary Marriage is a story that is difficult to define within one genre. What first made me pick up this novel was the intrigue of a forbidden relationship, but I soon found that there were a lot more shocking events to unravel! The story is split into three parts and provides us with insights into three different couples. It begins with Jane, a shy and intellectual sixteen year old who becomes besotted with her history teacher, Leonard. They begin a romantic relationship and soon Jane is married with two children. When another married couple moves in next door, Marion and Andrew, the plot moves to focus on the background to their lives. Thirdly, Lodato provides us with chapters that give us an insight into the minds of the couples' children, Becka and Jonathan, who begin a friendship when they are young but become romantically involved as they reach the teenage years.

I think that the three different character perspectives is one of the story's main strengths. Both marriages seem like polar opposites: Jane and Leonard are middle-class and softly spoken, whereas Marion and Andrew are from a violent estate and have an equally volatile relationship. What Lodato's tale of family life does wonderfully is show that no matter how different people are, we all face the same emotional rollercoasters in relationships. The characters are messy every decision they make is driven by some inner need to find control and happiness in their lives, two qualities that lie at the heart of human nature. The title describes it perfectly: the necessary marriage isn't just about romantic marriages, but the marriage between a person and what they want in life. So, if you like novels that explore complicated family dynamics, I highly recommend this book!

Submitted by Michelle