City of Friends
by 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 through 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.
“City of Friends” has been on my Amazon wishlist since I saw an advert for it in an underground station. I liked the idea of reading about a group of women living in London so when I came across the book in the library I immediately picked it up.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the kind of book I was expecting. With little mention of London throughout, it also turns out that the group of 4 women are university friends now in their late forties. Now I don’t have anything against a group of friends in their late forties, but I felt that this book was intended for an older audience than me. I’m 26 and found that I just wasn’t interested in the domestic dramas these women faced. There’s an argument because someone hires someone else’s ex-fling’s new girlfriend (is that a problem? I wouldn’t consider it to be one…) and there’s a fight over two of the women’s kids dating (oh no, how totally awful!) Each of the women are trying to balance family, work and friendships and that’s pretty much it, there’s not a real story to follow. I’m sure these things are of interest to some people but I actually caught myself rolling my eyes at points while reading about their overblown issues.
That said, this wasn’t a book to hate. Each woman had a unique personality and had taken their life in a different direction, all very realistically. The women did feel real and I am sure there are hundreds of women who could relate to their exact situations, just not me.
I’ve read that this isn’t Trollope’s best so I won’t rule her out completely but I won’t be rushing out to pick up another of her books either.
Overall rating: It’s an easy read but “City of Friends” is full of petty dramas and arguments over nothing. The story doesn’t offer anything new or exciting and I don’t feel that this book was anything special. I didn’t particularly dislike the characters but perhaps I’d prefer it if something dramatic happened – it is fiction after all! It’s 2 stars for this one.