City of Friends
This was an odd read for me. Initially I was really drawn to the characters and the story got off to a romping start. But somewhere the bottom dropped out of the novel and I found myself just reading to be “finished” not reading because I actually cared about the characters.
The book is, not surprisingly, about a group of friends. Women who went to university together and have remained intertwined in each other’s lives.
What was surprising was that they were older than the usual “chick lit” protagonists – in their late forties (so, not all that ‘old’). They have carers and children and the other problems of every day life.
One of the big problems that faces one of the characters is her mother’s diagnosis of dementia. It was pleasing to see this increasingly common disease acknowledged.
Some of the relationships are tested throughout this novel and it adds a nice bit of tension without being too obvious. I was at times confused about how the relationships actually worked as there was no real ‘group’ scenes, yet the characters are all known to each other. This oversight (or choice) by the author left me feeling a little at odds as a good scene would have added some more depth to the story and perhaps explained some characters motivations a little more clearly.
The ending of the novel was also a little twee for my liking, however this genre does try to tidy away loose ends and ensure that the characters (and reader therefore) live ‘happily ever after’.
Overall this was an easy and enjoyable enough read and would certainly be a winner with fans of the authors previous works.
About the Author
Joanna Trollope is the author of many highly acclaimed and bestselling novels, including The Rector’s Wife, Marrying the Mistress and Daughters in Law. She was appointed OBE in 1996, and a trustee of the National Literacy Trust in in 2012. She has chaired the Whitbread and Orange Awards, as well as being a judge of many other literature prizes; she has been part of two DCMS panels on public libraries and is patron of numerous charities, including Meningitis Now, and Chawton House Library. In 2014, she updated Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility as the opening novel in the Austen Project. City of Friends is her twentieth novel.