Thursday, March 2, 2017

Review: City of Friends

Title: City of Friends
Author: Joanna Trollope
Publisher: 31 January 2017 by Pan MacMillan
Pages: 304 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: fiction, contemporary, women’s fiction
My Rating:3.5 cups

The twentieth stunning book from the lauded bestselling author, Joanna Trollope.
The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or at least, the only life she'd ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London?
As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new - one without professional achievements or meetings, but instead, long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home - she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and for all the happiness and heartbreaks in between.
But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey's redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits .

My Thoughts

‘It’s a work structure thing, not an hours thing. Work and life aren’t in opposition to each other, they enrich each other.’

Having read Joanna Trollope before I was in no doubt that I would enjoy the writing, this time with her providing detailed insights into modern relationship issues - friendships, work relationships, marriage and family relationships, caring for elderly parent relationships.

Here is a story all about modern women: their friendships and families balanced against their careers - if indeed such a thing is possible. With four different perspectives offered from each of the women, the reader is given a first hand account of not only their daily trials and tribulations but also, and more importantly, significant challenges they each encounter.

‘It was one of those rare and fleeting moments when she felt comfortably slightly ahead of the game rather than battling breathlessly to keep up with it.’

The main theme is of course, can women have it all? A family life and work life? What hurdles do they encounter? What sacrifices must they make? What happens when work comes before family? These are the interesting concepts addressed by Trollope and I liked it - an interesting  inquiry into the life of the modern career woman. Can she successfully maintain such a balance or does one always triumph over the other?

‘Our responsibilities in life shift without warning, don’t they?’

I enjoyed many of the characters outside of the four female leads. I particularly felt for Stacey and her husband in trying to care for her mother suffering from dementia and the impact it had upon their marriage. With four female leads and an assortment of other characters, it is quite a lineup to get your head around initially and you need to concentrate. Overall, however, I found this to be an open and honest account, ‘warts and all’ that helped make it real and readable.

‘I’m their mother, I always will be. I also am who I am, and that’s a given. I may have –I do have –many faults but I don’t have a false self. I am truly me, through and through, and that means they get what they see. And they always will.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

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