Review published on November 4, 2016.
The perfect book with which to curl up with a cuppa or a glass and become immersed in a superb tale with Joanna Trollope at her absolute best producing a well crafted story. Her characters are finely drawn, clearly defined women of today. I doubt if she has an equal in the portrayal of women’s ambitions, conflicts, emotions and reactions. The story is realistic drawing the reader into this absorbing tale.
Gaby, Beth, Melissa and Stacey, friends since their student days are now all high achievers in their respective fields leading successful and normal lives.
A beautifully written book that is very much character-led with the writer allocating chapters devoted to each one. Multiple viewpoints can prove tricky risking breaking the flow. But not in this book as Joanna Trollope releases little cameos of back story which, rather than being tedious, add to the depth of the story illustrating skilfully what makes these women tick. From the first chapter I was totally engrossed as the plot built slowly, brick by brick, stressing the loyalty and comradeship shared by the friends. Each chapter added dimensions to the characters and to the tale. The women are pin sharp and endearing and I so wanted things to be right for them all.
Stacey’s sudden dismissal from her job is the catalyst that affects them all. This confident and successful woman with the world at her feet is left stunned and bereft. Rather than turning to her friends, anxiously trying to be strong for her, she retreats into herself, shunning everyone. Her family and friends’ attempts to reach out to her and help are rejected. Fractures appear in her relationships and friendships are put under pressure.
The women in this book are clear examples of successful women juggling work and family in various forms and the struggle to stay strong and not fail. A familiar scenario in the present and bang up to date. I think it is fair to say that this is primarily a woman’s book and one to which they can identify. Especially the display of guilt that women endure when they cannot make everything fall into their perfect scenario.
A book about relationships that ebb and flow and a depiction of the reality of life. Most women will identify with the people depicted and also with their various predicaments so vividly shown in the excellent characterisation we have come to expect from this writer. I was totally involved in their lives, in their homes, relationships, work places, and even their hearts and could not put the book down.
Sheila A. Grant
City of Friends by Joanna Trollope
Point of No Return by John P Marquand
SECOND OPINION: How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee
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