Finding balance with ‘City of Friends’

Many women struggle to find balance between professional obligations and responsibilities at home, often taking on more than they can handle to “have it all.” In Joanna Trollope’s novel City of Friends, the need for balance is highlighted through four friends – Stacey, Beth, Melissa, and Gaby – all striving to find that perfect rhythm at home and in the office.

Trollope cements the struggles for working women by beginning City of Friends with a life-altering change to character Stacey Grant. After Stacey requests work flexibility and accommodations from her boss to help care for her senile mother, who recently relocated to Stacey’s home, the Senior Partner is left gobsmacked when her boss not only says “no,” but fires her from the private equity firm. Now, living in London without a high-power position and stuck at home caring for her mother, Stacey feels unfulfilled and lost. But Stacey is not the only one in her circle struggling, her friends Beth, Melissa and Gaby are all fighting to find their place in the world.

City of Friends highlights a contemporary issue that many – if not most – women struggle with, however I was disappointed with the novel as a whole. While many of the issues the women are grappling with are very true to our society, there was not enough drama for me to label this book a “page turner.” I wish this novel had more interaction between the friends, I wish it showed more of their personalities and featured more humour, and I wish it had more depth to the conflicts. Overall, the concept was interesting but the delivery did not hold my interest.

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