23/01/2012

Friday Nights (by Joanna Trollope)

I've enjoyed the books by Joanna Trollope for many years now - some more than others, but her style is always good, and her characters interesting. So when she publishes a new novel, I usually put it on my wishlist.

I was given 'Friday Nights' for my birthday, nine months ago, but have had so many unread books on my shelves that I've only just finished it. It made good bedtime reading over the past week or so.

The story really revolves around Eleanor, a retired single woman, who decided to invite two young mothers - Paula and Lindsay - to hang out with her on Friday nights, along with their small children. Wanting something to do, they went along, sometimes joined by Lindsay's younger sister Jules. Eleanor's neighbour Blaise was invited, along with her business partner Karen.. and gradually, over a few years, strong friendships have formed.

Then Paula meets a new man, and wants to bring him to the group. Everyone is a little uncertain about this, but they welcome him for Paula's sake. Although he's a likeable guy who seems to get along with everyone, including Paula's son, this seems to be the catalyst for a lot of changes amongst the dynamics of the various group members.

There's not really a lot of plot, as such. It's a gentle character-driven book, delving into the different lives of these six diverse women and their relationships. I found it rather hard to remember who was whom, at first; Eleanor and Jules were easy enough, and Blaise (the only other woman without children) stood out, but I found the other three and their offspring rather too similar. By the end I had just about sorted them out in my mind, sufficiently so that I can remember them a day later.

There's really nothing special about this book - I didn't find it moving, or amusing, or even particularly thought-provoking. Nonetheless, scenes are recurring in my mind - so apparently it's at least somewhat memorable. Certainly, the writing is good, and it's a pleasant enough light read, if you like this kind of thing.

Not really recommended if you haven't previously read any Joanna Trollope, but if you like her style, it's not a bad book.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 23rd January 2012

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