Return to Peyton Place

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Return to Peyton Place
First edition
Author Grace Metalious
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Julian Messner, Inc.
Publication date
Pages 256
Preceded by Peyton Place

Return to Peyton Place is a 1959 novel by Grace Metalious, a sequel to her best-selling 1956 novel Peyton Place.

Plot summary

After the phenomenal success of her first novel, Metalious hastily penned a sequel centering on the life and loves of bestselling author Allison MacKenzie, who follows in the footsteps of her mother by having an affair with a married man, her publisher Lewis Jackman. In the finale of the book, Lewis is killed, which destroys Allison. The similarity of their situations bond Allison and her mother, who advises Allison to live for him by returning to her writing, which she does.

When she returns to her hometown following the publication of her first novel, Samuel's Castle, she is forced to face the wrath of most of its residents, who are incensed by their barely disguised counterparts and the revelation of town secrets in the book. Despite that, certain members of the community stood by the MacKenzies, most notably, Seth Buswell, the newspaper editor; and his oldest friend, Dr. Matthew Swain. In fact, whenever anyone came into Dr. Swain's office and complained about Allison's book, he would roar them down and after a harsh tongue-lashing from him about some of the things that person had done, he or she wouldn't ever complain about Allison's novel after that.

However, Roberta Carter, a member of the school board (working in concert with the town attorney's wife Marion Partridge), makes it her mission to ban the book from the high school library.

She punishes Allison by firing her stepfather, Michael Rossi (a decision which she eventually reverses, to the anger of Marion); while at the same time trying to dissolve her son Ted's marriage to his snobbish bride, a Boston blue-blood named Jennifer Burbank. Roberta is eventually murdered by the evil Jennifer, when she shoves her down the staircase.

Another union in trouble is that of Allison's mother Constance, who is shocked by her daughter's exposé, but nonetheless stands by her, and stepfather Michael Rossi, the school principal and one of the novel's defenders.

Betty Anderson returns from New York, after giving birth to Roddy, the child she had by Rodney Harrington and, along with her co-hort and Roddy's babysitter, Agnes Carlisle, moves to Peyton Place, so she can allow Leslie, Roddy's grandfather to know him.

Selena Cross, who had been acquitted of murder in the previous novel, was trying to make a life for herself and her brother, Joey. She is manager of the Thrifty Corner Apparel Shoppe, and is a success. She meets Timothy Randlett, an itinerant actor, who after attacking her, ended up getting hit with fireplace tongs, similar to how Lucas Cross was killed. She eventually decides to marry Peter Drake, her former attorney. In this book, Selena and Allison had rebonded as friends, and Allison's New York roommate, Stephanie Wallace, was also part of their circle.

Return to Peyton Place had many of the same soap opera elements of the original. Although it sold well, its total sales did not equal those of its predecessor.


A 1961 film adaptation was directed by José Ferrer.

A daytime drama entitled Return to Peyton Place aired on NBC from April 3, 1972 to January 4, 1974, but the soap opera was a continuation of the primetime television series Peyton Place rather than an adaptation of the book.