Joanna Trollope has been writing for over thirty years and her work has attracted considerable critical acclaim as well as commercial success. Her books have been translated into over twenty-five languages and several have been adapted for television. She is the author of seventeen highly acclaimed contemporary bestselling novels, including The Other Family, Daughters In Law and The Soldier’s Wife. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia’s daughters, and ten historical novels published under the pseudonym Caroline Harvey.
Joanna was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature and was the Chair of Judges for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. More information about Joanna and her work can be found at www.joannatrollope.com
Click here to watch Joanna talking to Mark Lawson about creativity and the inescapable drama of domestic life.
UPCOMING TITLE: A SUITABLE MAN, MACMILLAN, 2018
THE NEW NOVEL FROM #1 BESTSELLER JOANNA TROLLOPE
NEWEST TITLE: CITY OF FRIENDS, MACMILLAN, FEBRUARY 2017
City of Friends is the twentieth novel from the highly acclaimed number one bestselling author, Joanna Trollope.
She glanced at her phone again. There were appeals from the girls, from her colleagues, a text from Steve reading with uncharacteristic imperiousness, 'Call me.' She couldn't. She couldn't call anyone . . . She leaned forward, gripping the edge of the bench, and stared at the ground. God, she thought, am I losing my mind? Is this what happens when you lose your job?
The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or at least, the only life she'd ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London?
As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new - one without professional achievements or meetings, but instead, long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home - she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and for all the happiness and heartbreaks in between.
But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey's redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits . . .
Praise for City of Friends
“One of our most readable novelists … writing with tremendous skill in a silky, smooth style.”
“In this, her 20th novel, she uses her four lead characters to explore the lives of ambitious women on the brink of burn-out, personal and professional, after a quarter of a century of relentless striving … The result is a novel that ventures into tough new territories of female experience”
“I loved this tale of superwoman schadenfreude, to be published later this month. It’s fiendishly well-plotted and, with its glittering London settings, full of urban glamour.”
“Relationships are, and always have been, the kernel of Trollope's fiction. Those close, intimate, family and best-friend relationships are the ones she has studied most and writes about with such grace and fluency. In this respect, City of Friends is no different from many of her other novels … But the real pleasure in this novel is in Trollope's almost covert observations on what it takes to be a quiet, busy, hard-working feminist in 21st-century London.”
Praise for Joanna Trollope:
“Like a good kitchen chat, Joanna Trollope’s novels dish out equal measures of reassuring warmth and sobering insight.” — New York Times Book Review
“Her books are . . . readable without being trivial, accessible without being pat, psychologically astute without being labored.” — Wall Street Journal
“[An author who] makes her readers want to drop everything in order to keep on reading.” — Publishers Weekly
“She can be as subtle as Austen, as sharp as Brontë. Trollope's brilliant.” — Mail on Sunday
“Trollope is an extremely assured writer, with a brilliant eye for detail and a finely tuned emotional intelligence.” — Sunday Times
Two sisters could hardly be more different.
Elinor Dashwood, an architecture student, values patience and reliability. Her impulsive sister Marianne, takes after their mother Belle, and is fiery and creative, filling the house with her dramas and guitar playing, while dreaming of going to art school.
But when their father, Henry Dashwood dies suddenly, his whole family finds itself forced out of Norland Park, their beloved home for twenty years. Elinor, Marianne, Belle and the youngest sister ,Margaret, must face a world without their father, their means of support, or even a place to live. Without the comfort of status, their values are severely put to the test. Can Elinor remain stoic and restrained knowing that the man she really likes has already been ensnared by another girl? Will Marianne’s faith in a one and only lifetime love be shaken by meeting the hottest boy in the county, John Willoughby? And in a world where social media and its opinions are the controlling force at play, can love ever triumph over conventions and disapproval?
With her wit and eye for social nuance Joanna Trollope casts Sense & Sensibility in a fresh new light to re-tell a wonderful coming-of-age story about young love and heartbreak, and how when it comes to money especially, some things never change . . .
Susie Moran is a success. She has founded and run her own highly profitable company, and now her three daughters are all involved in the business. Rooted in the traditions of the Stoke-on-Trent potteries, and producing charming, useable objects of distinctive design, Susie is justly proud of her family and her achievement - and has no intention of letting it change.
But what of the men in the family? Susie's husband, a musician and artist, has always seemed happy to take a back seat. One of her sons-in-law has few ambitions outside the home. Another daughter, though, has brought her husband into the company - and they want to change things, much to Susie's distress.
And then, into the mix, arrives Susie's father, an ageing hippy who abandoned Susie as a baby. Now he's alone, and wants to build bridges, although Susie's daughters are outraged at the idea. Can the needs of a family business override the needs of the family itself? In wanting to preserve her business, will Susie lose something much more precious?
The soldiers are coming home - after six months in Afghanistan. Surely being reunited with their wives and girlfriends and families will be heaven, after the hell they have been through.
When Dan Riley returns to his adored wife, Alexa, and their children, his Army life still comes first. Alexa thought she was prepared to help him, and the whole family, to make the transition to normal life again - but no-one had told her how lonely and near impossible the task would be. Does marrying a soldier always have to mean that you are not marrying a man, but a regiment?
Rachel loves being at the centre of her large family. She has devoted herself fiercely to bringing up her three sons, and continues to do so now that they are all grown up – and getting married.
In return, the boys remain deeply attached to her, and to their father, Anthony, and to their childhood home on the wide, bird-haunted coast of Suffolk.
But when her youngest, Luke, gets married, Rachel finds that her control begins to slip away. Other women – her daughters-in-law – are usurping her position, and seem to be becoming more important to her boys than she is. She can no longer rely on her time-honoured role as provider and matriarch. Her daughters-in-law begin to do things in their individual and separate ways, and so, to her bewilderment and grief, do her husband and sons.
A crisis brings these subtle rifts to the surface, forcing the whole family to question old assumptions and find a new dynamic, if any of their relationships are going to survive.
Chrissie always believed that Richie loved her, had loved her for all the twenty-three years they'd been together, loved their three daughters and their house in Highgate and their happy, lively existence. But if she really was the love of his life, why had he never given her the one thing that would have made her life perfect? The ring she wore was not a wedding ring, and it did not bring her the security of marriage. That belonged, still, to Margaret, back in Newcastle where Richie had started off as a musician, before he became famous.
Margaret and her son Scott never saw Richie, and had never met the three girls. They were his other family, not mentioned but always in Chrissie's mind, an obstacle to her complete happiness. And then, suddenly and shockingly, Richie is no longer there, and Chrissie and the girls have to learn to manage without him. The presence of the other family becomes, all at once, impossible to ignore, not least because they are involved in Richie's will. Old resentments, and feelings of abandonment and loss, have to jostle with the practicalities of money and property.
It's Eleanor who starts the Friday nights. From her window she sees two young women, with small children, separate, struggling and plainly lonely, and decides to ask them in, and see what happens. What happens is that a group gradually forms, a group of six different and disparate women, who become a circle of friends. They range in age from Jules, who is twenty-two and wants to be a DJ, to Eleanor herself, who is a retired professional and walks with a stick. They include one wife, three mothers, three singletons and five working women. They all of them, variously, value Friday nights. And then one of them meets a man, an enigmatic significant man, and the whole dynamic changes. The bonds that have been so closely forged are tested, and some of them break. With wit and warmth, Joanna Trollope explores the complexities, the sabotages, and the shifting currents of modern friendship.
Part of the Quick Reads series. Alice is thirty-eight. She has a house, a husband, two teenage children and a part-time job. She thinks she ought to be happy. But she isn't. Instead, she feels she has vanished, that she is like something lost down the back of the sofa. Because Alice has a secret which is never spoken of in the family as they are all ashamed, Alice most of all. Alice can't read. Then two things happen. Her son, Craig, brings home his school's leather-clad bad boy, a terrible influence. And Alice 's friend Liz tells her she's tired of feeling sorry for her and trying to help. Timid, quiet Alice must start out on her own brave journey and for it she chooses the strangest companion. For the first time in her life, she knows what she wants and she is going to get it. With the help of the Book Boy.
Ben is, at last, leaving home. At twenty-two, he's the youngest of the family. His mother Edie, an actress, is distraught. His father Russell, a theatrical agent, is rather hoping to get his wife back, after decades of family life. His brother, Matthew, is wrestling with a relationship in which he achieves and earns less than his girlfriend. His sister Rosa is wrestling with debt, and the end of a turbulent love affair. Meet the Boyd family and the empty nest, twenty-first-century style.
Nathalie and David have been good and dutiful children to their parents, and now, grown-up, with their own families, they are still close to one another as brother and sister. Except that they aren't brother and sister. They were both adopted, when their loving parents found that they couldn't have children themselves. And up until now it's never mattered. But suddenly, Nathalie discovers a deep need to trace her birth parents and is insisting that David makes the same journey. And through this, both learn one of the hardest lessons of all, that sometimes, the answers to who we are and where we come from can be more difficult than the questions...
Art historian Gillon has left South Carolina to come to London and escape the demands of her wealthy, socially conventional family. She moves into a flat with Tilly and her long term photographer boyfriend Henry, who decides to go to South Carolina where he is seduced by the charms of Charleston and Gillon's family.
Merrion Palmer has been Judge Guy Stockdale's mistress for the last seven years, and his wife and two grown-up sons know absolutely nothing about her. Up until now, Guy and Merrion have enjoyed a blissfully, uncomplicated relationship in stolen moments in Merrion's flat, and to the rest of the world, Guy has played the part of model husband, father and grandfather. But now the time has come for things to change. Guy has become conscious of wasted years and he wants to share his relationship with Merrion with the world. He wants to marry her. Yet he is quite unprepared for the storm that will follow.
For eight-year-old Rufus, life has become complicated. His parents, Josie and Tom, have divorced and are setting off on separate paths. But now, other people have had to become involved, like his mother's new husband Matthew and his father's new friend Elizabeth. What's even worse is that there are other children too, Matthew's three teenagers, who have been conditioned by their mother Nadine to hate Rufus's mother Josie. Matthew's children come to their father for weekends and make it clear how much they loathe Josie. Rufus secretly prefers to be with his father, in his peaceful flat in Bath, where he realises that he doesn't actually hate the idea of a stepmother, if she is peaceful and sane like Elizabeth. But where other people's children are concerned, neat solutions seldom occur.
THE BRASS DOLPHIN (AS CAROLINE HARVEY)
Lila Cunningham, motherless since babyhood, was almost twenty-one when her familiar life in a small town on the Suffolk coast came abruptly to an end. It was 1938, and she learned with a shock that her endearing but feckless artist father faced financial disaster. With the loss of their home imminent, they had no option but to accept an offer of a house in Malta, and on that hot and exotic island, in the magnificent but crumbling Villa Zonda, Lila at last glimpsed the kind of life of which she had always dreamed. But war was looming, and Malta became the focus of Hitler's attention while Lila became the focus of attention of three very different young men. As bombing devastated the island Lila, along with the other inhabitants, learned to live with privation and fear, and also to discover which dreams are really worth pursuing. In this enchanting new novel Caroline Harvey captures all the warmth and romance of Malta as well as its dramatic sufferings during the Second World War.
The land running down to the River Dean has been farmed by the Meredith family for generations. Robin Meredith bought the farm from his father, just before he married his wife Caro and now he and his brother Joe work on the land. But now Caro has died, as much as a mystery to the family as she was when she arrived twenty years ago, and the whole family feels her loss acutely, none more so than her adopted daughter Judy. Into this unhappy family comes Zoe, Judy's London friend, an outsider with an independent spirit and a disturbing directness. Everyone underestimates Zoe's power as a catalyst for change as the realities behind the seeming idyll of a rural community become ever clearer.
Gina and Laurence have been the best of friends ever since they were teenagers. They have never been in love, just friends. Now, Gina is married to the exquisitely tasteful Fergus and lives in stylish perfection at High Place. Laurence is married to down-to-earth Hilary and lives in the Bee House, a home and hotel. Then, with elegant disdain, Fergus announces that he is leaving Gina and their teenage daughter. As Gina's misery ricochets through the two homes, she turns for emotional support to Laurence, her dearest friend. And as Laurence gives comfort, so his own marriage and the stability of his children edges towards destruction.
Lizzie and Frances are twins, together forming part of a unit. At least that's the way Lizzie sees things. Lizzie is the twin who has everything, husband, children, a flourishing career and a beautiful house, and worries about Frances who seems to lead a solitary life in London ricocheting from one disastrous man to the next. Lizzie just wants Frances to share in her own complete and satisfying life. Then one day Frances announces she isn't coming to Lizzie's for Christmas, she's going to Spain instead. And, equally unexpectedly, Lizzie's world begins to tilt. Frances' Christmas defection seems overwhelmingly threatening to their unity. As Frances' future begins to change into something exciting and Lizzie's deteriorates as financial pressures eat into her ideal lifestyle, could it be that Frances is the twin with everything?
Julia Hunter and Kate Bain have found true happiness with men old enough to be their fathers. Julia organises her husband Hugh and their cherubic twins with ruthless efficiency and Kate has lived with James, for eight years, and although she refuses to marry him, she's apparently devoted to him. Hugh and James, lifelong friends, feel blessed indeed. But age differences cannot be ignored forever and when James accidentally knocks a fiercely independent spinster from her bicycle a chain of events is set off in which many suppressed discontents and frustrations emerge. Kate begins to seek out friends of her own age and Julia's career begins to blossom just as her husband's starts to decline. The tranquil lives of the men and the girls seem shattered as new relationships develop and old anxieties surface.
The Logans were an enchanting and admirable couple. Archie had snatched Liza from her own engagement party to someone else, wooed her, swept her off to his father in Scotland, and finally married her. Now bedded firmly into country life and three children, Archie the village doctor, Liza a teacher, everything comfortable, funny, affectionate, they awaited the arrival of Archie's father, the brilliant Sir Andrew Logan, a widower for over thirty years. When his city-clean Rover stopped in the drive, Sir Andrew was not alone. Beside him was a golden lady in caramel suede, a warm, witty, desirable widow whom everyone, except Archie, adored at once. Archie saw his father's mistress as the worm in the bud of his perfect life; a life that was to be wrenched apart before he and Liza could re-create their world.
The general view in the village of Pitcombe was that Alice Jordan was extraordinarily blessed among mortals. She had a lovely house, nice husband, dear little children and more than enough money. Why then, did Alice herself feel there was something missing? As the family settle themselves solidly into local life, the something missing in Alice's life becomes huge, breaks out into the open and ends up scandalizing the whole village...
In the gentle precinct of Aldminster Cathedral, crisis loomed. The urbane and worldly Dean wanted nothing so much as to restore and beautify his beloved Cathedral, even if it meant sacrificing the Choir School to pay for it. Alexander Troy, Headmaster of the school, a conscientious man, somewhat out of his depth with his elusive and poetical wife (once seen walking barefoot in the dew across the Cathedral Close) was determined that nothing and no-one, certainly not the overbearing Dean, should destroy the Choir. As the rift widened, many others found themselves caught in the schism: Leo Beckford, brilliant but wayward organist, repelling the adoration of the Dean's dreadful daughter; the gentle, left-wing Bishop, trying to soothe the angry protagonists; Sally Ashworth, mother of the leading chorister, fighting loneliness and an absent husband. Each human dilemma takes place under the shadow of the final battle for the survival of the Choir.
Film, TV & Theatre
Joanna Trollope is represented by St John Donald for Dramatic Rights.