Book Review - 'City Of Friends' by Joanna Trollope.
The book follows four women who have been friends since their time at University and are now high-flying successes in the business world and in their respective careers. The book is structured as a round robin of 4 x 5 chapters, each seen from the viewpoint of one of the four women - Stacey, Melissa, Gaby and Beth (although continuing to be written in the 3rd person). The story opens at the point where one of the women, Stacey, is made redundant from her job. We then follow inter-twining events as the four friends experience many upheavals and complications in their lives. On Melissa’s recommendation, Stacey follows up on the option of accepting a job at Gaby’s company. Unfortunately, this is without consulting Gaby first. And Gaby cannot make the post available to Stacy because she had already hired another woman beforehand. A very competent employee who also happens to be married to the father of Melissa’s teenage son. But this has been kept secret from Melissa. And if the waters aren’t distorted enough, it was Beth’s partner, a professional headhunter, who recruited her. Meanwhile, Beth is facing problems of her own - an acrimonious divorce looming with the said partner.
The book is intriguingly presented, with a slick & modern contemporary cover design. The narrative is very well constructed, which should be expected of a book written by a well-established author with a range of very popular books in her back catalogue. The story is clearly very pro-feminist. The only problem is that the characters begin to feel like they are more just a set of feminist issues. This is used by the author to bust the myth embraced by the new generation of younger educated women that they can have it all.
If you enjoy reading books on domestic dramas, and are simultaneously avid fans of soap-operas and TV shows like the BBC TWO 90’s offering “This Life”, then ‘City Of Friends’ is for you.