When Viola learned of her husband Humphrey's affair, it seemed obvious that she must divorce him so he could be with the woman soon to bear him a child, but now she must deal with her highly-strung and sensitive son Hilary and her sister Frances' sudden move to London alone, without Humphrey's steadying presence. And while Humphrey tries to deal with the fact that his romantic choices have ended his marriage, his family is also living through numerous personal upheavals.
His twin aunts Harriet and Hester are heading for a breakdown, with Harriet looking after all aspects of her sister's life while Hester is desperate for something to call her own, and Aggie, Humphrey's mild-mannered and absent minded sister-in-law, is a widowed mother to three children she doesn't understand: Joey, hateful of his office job and eager for the freedom of farm work; solid, quiet Monica who spends her days not at Oxford reading and studying, and Elaine, desperate to leave Reddington behind and have control of her own life.
Humphrey's sister Doreen and her daughter Bridget have a fraught relationship, with Bridget torn between her mother's desire for her to make a marriage that will increase their social standing and the affection she feels towards her best friend's brother, Terry.
Will this family ever manage to find happiness and equilibrium?
Journeying Wave by Richmal Crompton explores the changes sparked by Viola and Humphrey's divorce, letting us into the inner thoughts, feelings and dreams of an extended family. We visit numerous points of view, revealing just how rich and varied our internal lives truly are – and how there are many paths to happiness.
This is one of Miss Crompton's best books. It tells, with quiet dignity and restraint, of a woman whose husband leaves her briefly for someone else, and of the varying reactions on the woman herself, her family and her husband's family