Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope
A Review of Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope
About the Author:
I have long loved reading novels by Joanna Trollope. Her characters become my book friends. Her wonderful gift of story telling intertwining events and people draw the reader into the story page by page turning page. I have often fallen asleep with the book still open because I couldn't bear to stop reading.
Joanna started writing as a young teen - she claims to keep her first novel (about herself written at age 14) locked up so her children don't find it.
As a schoolgirl Joanna didn't enjoy school, yet she won a scholarship to Oxford. As many writers notice about themselves Joanna had the sense of not fitting in with the crowd, of being an outsider. She was unhappy at a time in her life when most children and young teens are longing to fit in.
Born in the Cotswolds in 1943 Joanna enjoyed the rootedness of coming from a small comnmuity and the outstanding landscape of that part of the world.
Joanna first started writing historical novels under the name of Caroline Harvey. In 1991 writing as Joanna Trollope she enjoyed her first literary best seller The Rector's Wife and since then she has published 18 contemporary novels. Joanna was awared the OBE in 1996.
One of Joanna's strengths as a storyteller and a writer is her ability to bring characters from different walks of life together and make their encounters believable and human. Friday Nights is an excellent observation about the social and underlying emotional affect that human beings have on each other in groups and in relationships.
In Friday Nights you will meet a multi-generational cast of characters living in London. That city of bright lights, an energizing hub of creativity, multiculturalism and socio-economic variety that can offer both socialization and isolation.
Taking the bull by the horns as she observes two young mothers, apparently single, Eleanor offers to look after their children so that the mums can enjoy some time off from their children. From this single act of stepping outside her comfort zone Eleanor unwittingly creates a circle of connection between individuals who would not normally have met each other.
Trollope's observation of the human exchanges, the relationships within the families and the cast of characters is poignant and real. As the reader we are offered an understanding of how each character deals with life changing decisions, growth and change.
The generational, male and female, adult and child interactions are cleverly woven together as unexpected outcomes, attachments and detachments occur. The introduction of Jackson is a clever vehicle which takes the group from their newfound connectedness to face historical interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts and demons.