A genteel squabble over a Cornwall farmhouse, featuring a cast of many.
Maud Todhunter is a diplomat’s widow who’s left to cope with her dead husband’s numerous offspring whether she wants to or not (she was Hector’s second wife and they had no children). She wants to sell Moorgate, the fine old house he left her, and retire alone to a small cottage in Devon. But Moorgate holds so many memories, complains Selina, one of Hector’s daughters by his first wife, Hilda, that perfect mother who loved to iron—and knit, and polish doorknobs—and whom Maud still resents even though she’s now been dead for more than 30 years. Selina has never forgiven Maud for taking her mother’s place, and has never shut up about it either. But Posy, her own charming daughter, loves her stepgrandmother, despite Selina’s sneering disapproval. And Patrick, Selina’s husband, a noble soul, stopped loving his selfish, condescending wife long ago and is having an affair with Mary, a warmhearted woman who struggles to care for her paralyzed son and infirm parents. Enter Mike, a successful novelist and playwright whose actress wife left him and their infant son to make it big in Hollywood. Mike’s sister Melissa helps him care for little Luke, even though she has inoperable cancer. Radiantly lovely nonetheless, she falls in love with Moorgate and its rugged caretaker, Rob, not telling him that she is near death so she can enjoy her last few weeks of life to the utmost. Mike and Posy soon pair off, as he notes her “durability,” which he finds “enormously attractive.” Then Maud’s dearest friend Daphne reveals a devastating secret regarding Hector, causing the old ladies to sip their tea just a little faster and ponder the meaning of it all.
Stodgy, colorless family drama, despite all the soapy complications and armchair psychology.