The Best of Friends

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Gina and Laurence have been the best of friends since childhood, but they've never been in love. For that, they chose others: Gina married Fergus, who gave her a daughter and a life of elegance and wealth, and Laurence wed Hillary, who helped him build a cozy, successful hotel and counts Gina among her dearest friends as well. But when one of these marriages ends, the result is a shift that sends tremors through three generations and two families—as friends become lovers, lovers become enemies, enemies become ...
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Overview

Gina and Laurence have been the best of friends since childhood, but they've never been in love. For that, they chose others: Gina married Fergus, who gave her a daughter and a life of elegance and wealth, and Laurence wed Hillary, who helped him build a cozy, successful hotel and counts Gina among her dearest friends as well. But when one of these marriages ends, the result is a shift that sends tremors through three generations and two families—as friends become lovers, lovers become enemies, enemies become allies, and another marriage hangs in the balance.

Author Biography: Joanna Trollope is a member of the same family as novelist Anthony Trollope.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
June 1998

Joanna Trollope is a No. 1 bestselling author in England. Here in the States, she has legions of faithful fans who have cherished each new book that has come across the Atlantic. In her latest, The Best of Friends, Trollope crafts a tale about two childhood friends who are now grown up with children, but whose marriages are on the brink of betrayal.

Gina and Laurence had been the best of friends ever since they were teens — but never in love. Gina married Fergus Bedford, an antique dealer who bought the sophisticated and elegant High Place for them to live in. Laurence married Hilary, a down-to-earth woman who helped him transform his shambling inheritance, The Bee House, into both a home and a small hotel.

When Fergus realizes that living with Gina and their daughter, Sophy, is no longer what he wants, it's to The Bee House that Gina flees, beginning a cycle of misery and heartache. It ricochets through both families — from Sophy, who longs for things to be as they were; to Gus, Laurence and Hilary's son, who adores Sophy; to Gina's 80-year-old mother, Vi, who has found true love for the first time in her life. In her loss, Gina turns to her dearest friend, Laurence, and finds something completely unexpected — the type of love that will send both marriages to the brink of betrayal.

The Best of Friends addresses what Joanna Trollope writes about best: "suspense of the heart" (USA Today). Trollope believes, "It is the mark of good fiction that the writer's eye is a kindly one...that there is a sense that we're allinthis together." That sympathetic eye is seen throughout this must-have book, which fans of Trollope are sure to enjoy while introducing this secret pleasure to unfamiliar readers.

Library Journal
Whittingbourne is one of those charming English towns where families live happily ever after. Gina and Fergus, Hillary and Laurance have grown up, married, and raised their children in the warmth of amiable friendship. But one day it all unravels as Fergus calmly leaves Gina to share his life with a young man in London, and Laurance nearly chucks it all to move to France with Gina in the heat of passion. Their children are devastated and beset with emerging passions of their own. Teenage Sophy, angry with her father, Fergus, for disrupting her life, is nonetheless drawn to him as a refuge from her mother's affair. But Fergus is not prepared for Sophy to share his new life. Sophy is also scared she might be pregnant after a furtive encounter with young George. What keeps the predictable plot from dissolving into just another British suburban soap is Trollope's (A Spanish Lover, LJ 12/96) remarkable talent for character development. Entertaining, engaging, and literate, this is highly recommended.
--Susan Clifford
Library Journal
Whittingbourne is one of those charming English towns where families live happily ever after. Gina and Fergus, Hillary and Laurance have grown up, married, and raised their children in the warmth of amiable friendship. But one day it all unravels as Fergus calmly leaves Gina to share his life with a young man in London, and Laurance nearly chucks it all to move to France with Gina in the heat of passion. Their children are devastated and beset with emerging passions of their own. Teenage Sophy, angry with her father, Fergus, for disrupting her life, is nonetheless drawn to him as a refuge from her mother's affair. But Fergus is not prepared for Sophy to share his new life. Sophy is also scared she might be pregnant after a furtive encounter with young George. What keeps the predictable plot from dissolving into just another British suburban soap is Trollope's (A Spanish Lover, LJ 12/96) remarkable talent for character development. Entertaining, engaging, and literate, this is highly recommended.
--Susan Clifford
Good Housekeeping
...[C]aptures the poignant rituals of family attachment and detachment with delicious wryness and large doses of empathy.
Jonathan Yardley
Remarkable... her characters are at once vexing and endearing, which is to say fully human.
The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
From the British writer who specializes in domestic tales with an edge (A Spanish Lover, 1997, etc.), a wonderfully calibrated story of an old high-school friendship that in middle age turns suddenly treacherous and destructive.

Trollope is one of those rare writers who creates fully human characters living in recognizable worlds doing regular jobs and suffering all the bitter disappointments that flesh is heir to. Gina, whose mother Vi, a character with her own fierce passions, was abandoned by the American soldier who got her pregnant, became friends with Laurence in high school in the small English town where they both lived. And even after she marries Fergus, and after Laurence marries Hilary, they remain splendidly close. Gina's teenaged daughter Sophy and Laurence's three sons are also good friends. And so when Fergus moves out of the beautiful home he and Gina have created, announcing that their marriage is over, he sets in motion events that almost destroy not only his own family but Laurence's as well. A distraught Gina turns to Laurence for consolation, and Laurence, who has been feeling overwhelmed by work and family, he runs a hotel and restaurant—ardently responds. Divorces are planned. An anxious Vi, whose dear friend Dan dies in the midst of it all, watches from the side. Sophy runs off to Fergus, who, though not gay, is living with a man who loves him; and Sophy quickly realizes that life with Dad is no solution either. Laurence's boys are equally upset, but, when Hilary decides to fight for Laurence, good sense and solid affections prevail, albeit not without compromise and unexpected change.

A wise and sympathetic take on the strains and strengthsthat friendship provokes, by a writer who seldom strikes a wrong note. A moving, convincing, satisfying novel.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425169377
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Joanna Trollope is a member of the same family as novelist Anthony Trollope.

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Read an Excerpt

THE BEST OF FRIENDS
by Joanna Trollope

 

INTRODUCTION

"The traditional novel is our lives. It doesn't matter whether it is the eighteenth century or the twenty-first century-people continue to want the same things out of life. Our social mores may change, our feelings about various aspects of human nature may change, we may eat different food or wear different clothes, but we are still looking for the bluebird of happiness." —Joanna Trollope

Gina and Laurence have been the best of friends since childhood—but they've never been in love. For marriage, they chose others: Fergus, who gave Gina a lovely daughter and a life of elegance and wealth; and Hilary, who helped Laurence build a cozy, successful hotel, and who counts Gina as one of her dearest friends as well. But when one of these marriages ends, the result is a shift that sends tremors through three generations and two families—as friends become lovers, lovers become enemies, enemies become allies... and another marriage hangs in the balance. Joanna Trollope is the sort of author who "makes her readers want to drop everything in order to keep on reading" (Publishers Weekly)—and The Best of Friends proves her consummate skill once again.

  ABOUT JOANNA TROLLOPE

Joanna Trollope is a descendant of Anthony Trollope and a #1 bestselling author in England. Writing as Caroline Harvey, she is the author of Legacy of Love and The Brass Dolphin. Writing under her own name, her contemporary novels include Next of Kin, Marrying the Mistress, and Other People's Children. Her earlier books, The Choir and The Rector's Wife, were both adapted for Masterpiece Theatre.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune described Vi as "the novel's moral compass." Do you agree with this assessment? Vi is extremely critical of Gina, saying to her, "Love! What do you know about love, except to love yourself, I'd like to know?" and "You let this quarreling go on and on and on and you let it all go. You had all those things... and you didn't have to struggle for them, you didn't have to be lonely, and take all the decisions, did you, day after day, year after year." Why is Vi so critical of Gina? Is this criticism justified? How would you characterize their relationship? What about Vi's relationship with Sophia?
     
  2. Each character changes as the novel progresses. This is due in part to the breakup of Gina and Fergus's marriage and Laurence and Gina's affair. What other events affected the characters? Did some characters change more than others? Did you empathize with one character in particular?
     
  3. Were you satisfied with the development of the various relationships between the main characters? Did any of the relationships need to be stronger or to reveal more?
     
  4. Fergus blamed Gina for the breakup of their marriage, and in several instances Vi also implies that it is Gina's fault. And after Fergus leaves her, Gina too blames herself. Is this a fair blame to place solely on Gina? Is she to blame for the near-breakup of Laurence and Hilary's marriage?
     
  5. The children in the novel are faced with many difficult issues. Did you find Sophy, George, Adam, and Gus to be realistic portrayals of adolescents? How about their reactions to the events with which they were faced? The novel begins and ends from Sophy's perspective. How important a character is Sophy and how would you describe her?
     
  6. The novel is titled The Best of Friends, and Laurence and Gina's long friendship provides the basis of the story. At one point Gina says to Laurence, "When I'm desperate, when I don't know where to turn, I come to you. Don't I? Because we go a long way back, because I trust you. I suppose it's an instinct to come to you." Laurence, in turn, thinks to himself about Gina, "He felt all those facts that he knew, and all those things he could observe, cohere in his heart most powerfully and mingle with his relief at her appreciation of him and the sheer pleasure of feeling her there in his arms." Were Laurence and Gina really in love, or did they confuse other emotions for love? How would you characterize their friendship before their affair? Were they ever really best of friends?
     
  7. Descriptions abound of the Bee House, High Place, Vi's home, and Fergus's London townhouse. For example, Gus disliked going to High Place because "there were too many unwritten rules there that one was bound to break." Are these residences as much a part of the story as the characters? Do they reflect the personality and/or the actions of their inhabitants in any way?
     
  8. Joanna Trollope portrays three generations of characters in the story. Is one generation any more happy than the others? Do they learn from one another?
     
  9. Hilary sacrificed her career to help Laurence run the Bee House. Do you think Hilary made the right decision in the end of the novel? What would you do if faced with a similar situation? Did the events that took place have a positive effect on her life in any way?
     
  10. The women in the novel—Gina, Hilary, Vi, and Sophy—are all strong characters. How are they alike? How are they different? Did you identify with any of these characters? If yes, which ones and why?
     
  11. In portraying daily domestic life, the author does not sugarcoat the events that take place. How well does she deal with such issues as divorce, death, responsibility, and regret? Are they dealt with in a realistic manner?
     
  12. In one instance Vi says, "We're all alone in the end. Aren't we? We're the only person in our whole lives we can't change, that we're stuck with." What do you think of this statement? How does it relate to the story?
     
  13. Were you satisfied with the story's ending, or do you wish it had turned out differently? If so, how? Was it a believable ending?
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Interviews & Essays

On Friday, June 19, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Joanna Trollope, author of THE BEST OF FRIENDS.


Moderator: Welcome, Joanna Trollope! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening. How are you doing tonight?

Joanna Trollope: Very, very well indeed. Thank you.



Megan from Virginia: Do you write to a specific audience?

Joanna Trollope: No. I am often marketed as a woman's writer, but I think I am writing for people. I would say that I always write with a reader's response in mind, but not with a particular image of a particular reader. In the UK, one third of the letters I get are from men, even if the letters do start, "I just happened to pick up my girlfriend's copy of...." I think the youngest person I ever got a fan letter from was 14 and the oldest was 96. So it is quite a spread.



Jamie from New York City: Hello, Joanna, I saw you the other day when you read here in NYC. I thought it was great. I have to read THE BEST OF FRIENDS, but my book club has THE SPANISH LOVER as our latest book. I am curious to find out if you change your books from the British version to the American version. Do you Americanize your books published here in the U.S.? What types of changes do you make, and why?

Joanna Trollope: I change them as little as I can. The British and Americans are divided by a common language. I will change "rubbish" to "garbage" and "holiday" to "vacation." But I don't believe in ever patronizing a reader's intelligence, and so if the meaning is perfectly clear, I won't tinker with the vocabulary. After all, the English read American books and vice versa because we find the small differences of language rather exotic. And human behavior is not only the same on either side of the Atlantic, I think it is the same the world over.



Pac87@aol.com from xx: Good evening, Ms. Trollope. Can you please comment on marriage in general? With divorce rates always on the rise, do you think marriage in the 20th century is an idealistic concept but not a realistic one?

Joanna Trollope: Well, I have various confused thoughts about this. One is that if society had come up with a better way of organizing itself than these unions between two people, down the centuries they would have done it. And I think marriage can still work extremely well, given that the participants develop toward each other and not away from each other over time, which of course is something of a lottery. But I think one of the reasons for the rising divorce rate is not purely because we are selfish, but because modern marriages go on for so long. Even a hundred years ago, a ten-year marriage was not very common, and now a marriage could go on for half a century -- that is a lot to ask of any two people. But my own bottom line is that it is still worth a try.



Lillian from Santa Fe, NM: You were included in BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY. Have you read that book yet?

Joanna Trollope: Yes, I have and was amazed to find myself. There's fame for you!



Victoria from Los Angeles: One of the things I love about your books is that you treat the parent and child relationship with such depth and respect. I am always surprised at how so many authors ignore or downplay this relationship. Is this based on your own experiences as a parent?

Joanna Trollope: Partly, and partly on my experience as a teacher, which I was for about 12 years, but mostly on mere observation, on simply noticing the adults and the children all around me, from those in my family to children playing in supermarkets. I think my emphasis on this relationship is because there is no part of modern life that is untouched by children. They are around us everywhere that previous generations would find astonishing. I think it is one of if not the most important relationship we have in our lives -- the one we have with our children -- and must be taken seriously, which means treating the children seriously as people and not as "dear little cutie pies."



Suzanne from Charlotte, NC: Any future plans to bring any more of your book to "Masterpiece Theatre"?

Joanna Trollope: I think yes. I have written a novel called OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN, about stepfamilies. It is published in England and Canada and will be published in May or June next year in the U.S The BBC are sniffing around it very enthusiastically to make a four to six part series, so we will keep our fingers crossed.



Sarah Baum from Spring, TX: Do you think it is a positive or negative for your writing career to be related to Anthony Trollope? Do you like comparisons or do you prefer to stand on your own merits?

Joanna Trollope: I am thrilled to be part of the same family. I am a huge admirer. I don't actually think it has made any difference to my own career, but I kind of feel like he is like a benevolent shadow somewhere behind me. He was easily the most psychological of the Victorian novelists. It is amazing to think he wrote before Freud. I think that, although it is purely coincidence, we do share a preoccupation with the things that have to be borne or rejoiced in daily life. He described his own work as being preoccupied with "those little daily lacerations upon the spirit," which I think is an amazing description of ordinary life, and one that fits my own vision of writing very closely. I also think that he was extremely benevolent, and I admire that and hope that I have inherited even a little of it.



Rita from Central Point, OR: As you are on the inside scene with English plays, I am curious to know if you know of any English "gems" onstage that we should keep an eye out for? Thanks! I am a big fan.

Joanna Trollope: I don't think I know enough about the English theater to be able to answer that adequately. P.S. I am very ashamed!



Kate from Stratham Common, UK: Good evening, Ms. Trollope. Well, everything out here in England is dandy as can be. I am wondering if you could tell us what you are currently reading?

Joanna Trollope: Well, I am doing what I always do when I am on tour, and reading the books that all the bookshops I go to do readings in advise me that I should be reading. And at the moment I am halfway through a really delightful book called THE BEAN TREES by Barbara Kingsolver. Why I haven't seen it in England, I just don't know. And I have also just finished a very spirited defense of the working mother by the deputy foreign editor of The New York Times, Susan Chira, called A MOTHER'S PLACE -- a large part of which I heartily agreed with. I also read Jacquelyn Mitchard's new one, THE MOST WANTED. If I am ever doing an event with someone, I always read their books as well -- it is a bit like being in a foreign book group.



Carrie from Wynnewood, PA: I am curious to find out how you researched this book? More specifically, how did you depict such an accurate portrayal of a family with domestic issues? Is there a marriage that you personally know in which a husband like Fergus leaves his family?

Joanna Trollope: No, it is never quite as simple as that. I never would transfer a real-life situation or a real-life person directly into a book, partly because I don't think it would work, and partly because I don't think it is ethical to take someone else's life and use it in your own work. But all I need now is the stimulus of getting a basic emotional idea in a book, and in this one the basic idea was an examination of the intensity of modern friendship. We all move about the world so much that we often end up somewhere without our families. And as substitutes we seem to make very close friendship circles from which we demand a family like loyalty. And in this case, once I started thinking around that idea, I began to see the threads of relationships that could lead to the central catastrophe in this novel. It is really a matter of just keeping my eyes and my ears open, whether I am in a group of friends or standing at the supermarket checkout or traveling in the London underground, some unconscious observation is taking notes in my mind all the time. I don't do it deliberately, it is just instinct by now.



Jodie Komitor from Grosse Point, MI: Why do American publishers wait so long to put a book out here in the States that has been available in England for so long? Do you know why?

Joanna Trollope: I have just changed publishers, which may be part of the answer! But I think that the Masterpiece Theatre productions had something to do with it. And when the old publisher was following the sequence of the TV production rather than the sequence of the novels, the books got out of sequence and delayed. But my new publishers are catching up as fast as they can and are planning to produce several old backlist titles straight into paperback in the next few years.



Mary from Long Island: What prompts you to begin a new book? Do you start with issues you want to address? A character?

Joanna Trollope: I start with an emotional situation. There is nothing new to say about human relations, because Shakespeare has already said everything that has to be said, but what modern writers can do is to present relationship dilemmas. In the light of how we think now, and because relationship problems are always at the heart of my books, that is the starting point, followed by the characters. When I start plotting a book, I will plot the first five to six chapters in quite a lot of detail, and I will then plot the end, and then I let the rest of the book and the people develop organically as they do in life. In other words, I know where I am going, but I don't always know quite how I am going to get there.



Kendall Logan from Stillwater, MN: What are you writing now? What can we expect next from Joanna Trollope? I mean after OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN, which I am reading right now. A friend of mine in England sent it to me.

Joanna Trollope: I can tell you that I know the subject and the titles of the next two books, but this has been a very busy year with a great deal of travel and promotion. And I was quite emotionally drained after writing OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN and thought that I would put a little gas in the creative tank by reading and thinking instead of writing for a while. But I shall start again this winter. Sorry not to give any details, but I have a superstition of works in progress, even if it is only mental!



Marie from New York City: How do you think your American readers differ from your British readers? Do you notice a huge difference when at book signings and readings? Just curious.

Joanna Trollope: No, Marie, I don't think I do. I think what the French call the human condition -- that is, what we all hope for, what we all fear -- is pretty much universal. I find American audiences both warm and open-minded. In a lot of cases, cities in the U.S. don't see anything like as many writers as British cities do, which makes one's reception significantly more enthusiastic! And there is one wonderful difference here, and that is the popularity of book groups. They do exist in the UK, but to nothing like the same extent. And my books seem to be good for book groups because of the scope they offer for endless relationships discussions. I love traveling here, and find that what readers want is as universal as how they feel.



Breene from Aurora, CO: Hello, Ms. Trollope. I am a voracious reader and I really enjoy your books. My question is not really related to the topic of your new book, but I read that you attended Oxford University. How would you describe that experience? Did you like going to school at Oxford? Thanks for taking my question. There is a personal undertone to the question....

Joanna Trollope: To be honest, I was amazed to find myself at Oxford, having been a deeply, deeply average student at school. I must say that I found a lot of the teaching exhilarating, not least because it was the first time any teacher had asked me for my opinion instead of telling me theirs. But one of the chief joys was the opportunity to make friends, read stuff I never thought of reading before, and have in a quiet way a bit of adventurous growing up away from home. It was also a privilege to be educated somewhere so ancient and so beautiful.



Joelle from Bryn Mawr, PA: Is it true that you still write your novels in longhand with a pen? What does your editor think about that?

Joanna Trollope: Yes, I still write them in longhand, and when the work's going well, I can write 1,000 words an hour. I have a friend who then types them up and puts them onto a disk, so don't worry, my editor does get something tidy.



Niki from Sudbury, MA: Will you ever or have you ever had the setting of your books in a city?

Joanna Trollope: Only once. I set THE MEN AND THE GIRLS in Oxford. There are several reasons why I don't set them in cities. More often a huge number of modern novelists write about metropolitan life as if most of the population who read didn't actually live in suburbs and the provinces and the countryside. The other more serious reason is that from a novelist's point of view, a human problem has more visibility and therefore more drama and tension if set in a relatively small community, where most people know each other's business.



Moderator: Thank you, Joanna Trollope! Best of luck with THE BEST OF FRIENDS. Do you have any parting thoughts for the online audience?

Joanna Trollope: Only to say that there are at least six book in the pipeline coming to the States. And I would like to thank everybody I have met on tour for their welcome and the real warmth of the response to the way I write. There is nothing more satisfying or important for a novelist.


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Reading Group Guide

AUTHCOMMENTS: "The traditional novel is our lives. It doesn't matter whether it is the eighteenth century or the twenty-first century-people continue to want the same things out of life. Our social mores may change, our feelings about various aspects of human nature may change, we may eat different food or wear different clothes, but we are still looking for the bluebird of happiness." — Joanna Trollope

DISCUSSIONQUES: A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune described Vi as "the novel's moral compass." Do you agree with this assessment? Vi is extremely critical of Gina, saying to her, "Love! What do you know about love, except to love yourself, I'd like to know?" and "You let this quarreling go on and on and on and you let it all go. You had all those things . . . and you didn't have to struggle for them, you didn't have to be lonely, and take all the decisions, did you, day after day, year after year." Why is Vi so critical of Gina? Is this criticism justified? How would you characterize their relationship? What about Vi's relationship with Sophia?

Each character changes as the novel progresses. This is due in part to the breakup of Gina and Fergus's marriage and Laurence and Gina's affair. What other events affected the characters? Did some characters change more than others? Did you empathize with one character in particular?

Were you satisfied with the development of the various relationships between the main characters? Did any of the relationships need to be stronger or to reveal more?

Fergus blamed Gina for the breakup of their marriage, and in several instances Vi also implies that it is Gina's fault. And after Fergus leaves her, Gina too blames herself. Is this a fair blame to place solely on Gina? Is she to blame for the near-breakup of Laurence and Hilary's marriage?

The children in the novel are faced with many difficult issues. Did you find Sophy, George, Adam, and Gus to be realistic portrayals of adolescents? How about their reactions to the events with which they were faced? The novel begins and ends from Sophy's perspective. How important a character is Sophy and how would you describe her?

The novel is titled The Best of Friends, and Laurence and Gina's long friendship provides the basis of the story. At one point Gina says to Laurence, "When I'm desperate, when I don't know where to turn, I come to you. Don't I? Because we go a long way back, because I trust you. I suppose it's an instinct to come to you." Laurence, in turn, thinks to himself about Gina, "He felt all those facts that he knew, and all those things he could observe, cohere in his heart most powerfully and mingle with his relief at her appreciation of him and the sheer pleasure of feeling her there in his arms." Were Laurence and Gina really in love, or did they confuse other emotions for love? How would you characterize their friendship before their affair? Were they ever really best of friends?

Descriptions abound of the Bee House, High Place, Vi's home, and Fergus's London townhouse. For example, Gus disliked going to High Place because "there were too many unwritten rules there that one was bound to break." Are these residences as much a part of the story as the characters? Do they reflect the personality and/or the actions of their inhabitants in any way?

Joanna Trollope portrays three generations of characters in the story. Is one generation any more happy than the others? Do they learn from one another?

Hilary sacrificed her career to help Laurence run the Bee House. Do you think Hilary made the right decision in the end of the novel? What would you do if faced with a similar situation? Did the events that took place have a positive effect on her life in any way?

The women in the novel-Gina, Hilary, Vi, and Sophy-are all strong characters. How are they alike? How are they different? Did you identify with any of these characters? If yes, which ones and why?

In portraying daily domestic life, the author does not sugarcoat the events that take place. How well does she deal with such issues as divorce, death, responsibility, and regret? Are they dealt with in a realistic manner?

In one instance Vi says, "We're all alone in the end. Aren't we? We're the only person in our whole lives we can't change, that we're stuck with." What do you think of this statement? How does it relate to the story?

Were you satisfied with the story's ending, or do you wish it had turned out differently? If so, how? Was it a believable ending?

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    Good character study

    Ms. Trollope is so talented, and she can really get into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I very much enjoyed reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2001

    A captivating novel

    Through strong emotions the characters in this novel behave in a reasonable and noble way, redefining themselves as they define the lines of marriage, family and friendship. However, the reader is more likely to care for the situation itself (the well-being of those involved) than he is to care for the characters, who are likable but not too appealing.

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