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Jane is sixteen when she first becomes aware of Leonard Campbell. He is a tall, gentle man with full lips and no ring on his left hand. He is her teacher. As he begins to shower her with attention, giving her novels to read and discuss, Jane’s interest grows and slowly she falls in love. They overcome obstacles in the form of school bullies and Jane’s parents, and it is only once married, that Jane realises she might have settled down too early and given up too much of herself in the process.

They have two children, Becca and Julia, and settle into suburban Surrey in the 1980s. But when Marion and Andrew, a couple whose passion frequently tips into violence, move in next door, Jane is forced to face up to feelings she didn’t know she could have. And when Marion abandons her family to return home to Ireland, Jane steps in to help with the couple’s two boys, setting in motion a series of events – all of which expose the push and pull within every family. As desire and loyalty are blurred, it becomes clear that nobody can escape the devastating impact of a family falling apart.

Read by Emma Powell
(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018


An intimate portrait of two couples that lays bare the truth of their marriages and the danger of relationships that stretch across neighbouring walls. Beautifully written, poignant and thrilling
Chloë Mayer, author of THE BOY MADE OF SNOW
I adored this beautifully told, immersive portrait of two marriages and the flaws and desires within . . . so gripping and original
Clare Empson, author of HIM
Tragic and affecting, this novel absorbed me from the first page - and what an ending, wow!
Melanie Golding, author of LITTLE DARLINGS
Gripping and atmospheric, this book will knock you sideways
Fiona Mitchell, author of THE MAID’S ROOM
I adored this tale of two very different marriages. Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and so tense, I was gripped from page one
Francesca Jakobi, author of BITTER
I hugely enjoyed this novel - a subtle and unexpected take on marriage and the paths we weave through life. A lovely evocation of time and place and a perfectly judged ending.
Joanne Sefton, author of IF THEY KNEW
Jane is 16 when she falls in love with her teacher, Leonard, but when they wed and start a family, she finds herself stifled in 1980s suburbia
A brilliant exploration of love, desire and desperation. I absolutely loved it!
Sally Bibb, author of THE STRENGTHS BOOK
There's a gritty intensity that quietly builds. What I thought was an excellent family drama turned into something completely different as it neared it's conclusion and I was taken by surprise in a very enjoyable way. Passionate, real, and at times heartbreaking. I would thoroughly recommend this book to you all.
Elegant, subtle and tender, with a sharp sting in the tale
A captivating novel which gets to the core of lust, love and commitment. Lodato's writing is delicate, yet direct . . . an excellent examination of rash decisions and their consequences
This is a novel which closely examines hidden lives and secret motives . . . I would call it Surrey Gothic: a superbly written suburban saga with an agreeable sense of creeping dread
Wendy Holden, DAILY MAIL
I was absolutely swept away by this novel and read it over one weekend, hardly putting it down at all. 1970s suburban England is brilliantly and expertly described and the incredible pull of the dangerous and the unknown for Jane was alluring and enticing. THE NECESSARY MARRIAGE is powerful and gripping. This author has a magical way with words that just engulf me. Her characters are perfectly formed, with flaws and foibles that just add to their strength and make them completely real for me. Both the story, and the author are strikingly brilliant, her ability to look at human relations is so astute. Wonderful, I loved every page and will recommend this highly.
This book explores the way families can both grow and crumble, how close bonds can last and others wither and how love and loss can truly shape people . . . Emotional. Compelling. Dazzling.
Ronnie Turner, author of LIES BETWEEN US
A beautifully written and thoughtful exploration of marriage, love, motherhood and identity. Elisa skilfully draws us into two marriages, seemingly completely different, but at the heart of both lies the same question. Is it better to settle for what we have, or to strive for what we believe we deserve, irrespective of the consequences? I loved it
Beautifully written and with emotional intelligence pulsing through its veins, this portrait of marriage is a gripping read right up to its shocking end