The author is herself a step-mother and writes from experience. This should be a good book.
She immediately brings up the necessity of studying the chart of the partner the step-parent has replaced. If you're the second wife, look at the first wife's chart to understand the situation you are in. Geffner's next point - very specific stuff - is to realize that before your marriage, your relationship to your new husband was as a romantic interest, which put you in his 5th house, along with his existing children. You are thus a peer to his children. After the marriage, you shift from his 5th, to his 7th. Your relationship to his children, and them to you, changes fundamentally in that instant. And you will know it.
Geffner continues with an extraordinary analysis of the 12 houses, from three simultaneous viewpoints: That of a child, that of an adolescent, and that of an adult. For houses 2 and 3, the differences are not so great, but for children in broken homes, the 4th and 10th, representing the parents, are crucial. If you're the new mommy, then the old mommy will be shown in the child's 10th. That's what he's expecting, and what you're not. I am embroidering, but the book is so well-done that it empowers it. (As a step-parent, you would be the third house from the customary house. If a step-mother, you would be the child's 12th. If a step-father, the child's 6th.)
The adolescent's 6th house determines if he will finish what he starts. His 8th house are secret joys. The fifth can indicate pride. The 11th house is peer-presssure.
Chapter two starts with a list of instructions to delineate a chart. These are all the usual suspects, with one caveat: The transiting position of the Moon, which I had not before considered. When you're in a family situation and living day by day in an intimate and often intense atmosphere (or else why are you reading this?), knowing the Moon's sign and what it means is important. A bright idea or a casual remark, when the Moon is in the wrong sign, can make the difference between happiness and that other alternative. I am again embroidering the text, but this is very sharp stuff and encourages it.
The chapters on retrogrades and nodes are more customary. In them, the author straddles writing about adults dealing with stepchildren, and stepchildren themselves. The three delineations that follow are strictly natal, which is to say John and Molly, the stepchildren, and Mary, their stepmother, are delineated as individuals and not part of a composite family. They are well done and serve as examples of what you can learn by reading a chart. The conclusions you may draw as to your part of the relationship are something else.
Chapter seven is the synastry between step-mother and step-child. Geffner does it the hard way, with the child's natal inside and the step-mother's outside, showing the impact of the new mother on the child. Composites are not used and I do not think would be appropriate.
Chapter 11, synastry between half-siblings, is also good. Lots of triple-wheel charts to look at.
The British Royals are here because of Prince Charles' second marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles. Geffner gives the synastry between Camilla and Prince William, and Camilla and Price Harry, the sons of Lady Diana. The book was published in 2009, so before the marriage of William and Kate. Regrettably, Geffner does not know how to read royal charts, but the delineations are interesting.
This book wanders back and forth between brilliant and merely good. If you are part of a composite family, you will find it to be an enormous help. The author has been where you are and knows what you've been suffering. I believe this is easily the best book about children and their parents.
AFA, 178 pages.