I had never read a Joanna Trollope novel when I first picked up Friday Nights, but something about the cover art and the jacket description captured my imagination. Well, one week later and I’m now on my third Joanna Trollope book – firmly hooked on her, I am!
I’ve always loved books that so strongly evoke setting and character. I’ve always loved books where you feel like you’re friends with the people in the story, and you miss them and wonder how they’re doing long after you put the book down. I’ve also always loved the slightly exotic (and yet somehow a bit familiar) feeling of novels set in Britain. And Joanna Trollope’s novels have all three magic ingredients: in spades.
I loved reading Friday Nights. I cared about these women and their families and their futures. I saw a tiny bit of myself reflected in their own lives and struggles, and this — I think — is one of Trollope’s gifts: her keen insight into the human condition, and her ability to bring it to life with such evident love and empathy. Friday Nights was the perfect read for me: I didn’t want it to be over, and yet I couldn’t get enough.
It’s Eleanor who starts the Friday nights. From her scruffy house in
Fulham she observes two young women with small children, separate —
struggling and plainly lonely — and decides to invite them in and see
what happens. What happens is that these very different women, Eleanor,
Paula and Lindsay, are joined by three more: Jules, Blaise and Karen.
Together they make up one retired professional, one budding DJ, one
frazzled wife, three mothers, three singletons and five working women.
Slowly, gradually and despite vast differences in background and
circumstance, a group forms: a sorority of sorts, and a circle of
It is only when Paula meets Jackson, an enigmatic,
powerful and seductive man, that the bonds that have been so closely
forged are put to the test; jealousies, rivalries, even infidelities
threaten everything the women have between them, even their Friday
nights. Harmony is eventually restored, but not without its price:
Paula must confront some unsavory truths about her relationships; Karen
must completely reevaluate her priorities in life; Blaise must meet new
challenges; Eleanor must admit she needs help at home; Jules has some
growing up to do; and Lindsay needs a little love in her life … With
wit and warmth, Joanna Trollope explores the complexities, the
sabotages, and the shifting currents of modern friendship.
If you’re like me, and you love a warm, evocative and character-driven novel, then do yourself a favour and pick up Friday Nights, or any other Joanna Trollope novel. Enjoy!