Joanna Trollope CBE

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Film, TV & Theatre

Agent: St John Donald
Associate Agent: Jonny Jones

Books

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 CBE 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. 

 

Latest Title: MUM & DAD,MACMILLAN, MARCH 2020

Sunday Times number one bestseller Joanna Trollope explores the issues at the heart of a modern family with her trademark wit and warmth, in Mum & Dad.

‘What a mess, she thought now . . . what a bloody, unholy mess the whole family has got itself into.’

It’s been twenty-five years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a vineyard and wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in . . .

Sebastian is busy running his company with his wife, Anna, who’s never quite seen eye-to-eye with her mother-in-law.

Katie, a successful solicitor in the City, is distracted by the problems with her long-term partner, Nic, and the secretive lives of their three daughters.

And Jake, ever the easy-going optimist, is determined to convince his new wife, Bella, that moving to Spain with their eighteen-month-old would be a good idea.

As the children descend on the vineyard, it becomes clear that each has their own idea of how best to handle their mum and dad, as well as the family business. But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?

 

Praise for MUM & DAD:

"Trollope is an extremely assured writer, with a brilliant eye for detail and a finely tuned emotional intelligence . . . she writes absorbing, wise stories that dramatize the dilemmas we face" Sunday Times

"With her compassion for her characters, Trollope cuts to the quick of family life, and the difference between men and women"  Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

"Joanna Trollope's novels address the issues and emotional journeys that face women today" Sunday Express

"Trollope writes about family relationships with intelligence and clear-eyed sympathy" The Times

"Nobody writes about family tensions better than Joanna Trollope" Good Housekeeping

 

Praise for AN UNSUITABLE MATCH, MACMILLAN, 2018:

“The plot, knitting all the couple’s children together in a web of mutual interest, is clever and has some unexpected outcomes. The scenes also abound with delicious contemporary tropes. An absorbing, slickly executed treat.” Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

“No-one captures family dynamics like Joanna Trollope … pitch-perfect novel.” Sunday Express

“The unmatchable Joanna Trollope at her best.” Choice

 

Praise for CITY OF FRIENDS, MACMILLAN, FEBRUARY 2017:

“One of our most readable novelists … writing with tremendous skill in a silky, smooth style.” Evening Standard

“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” Sunday Times

“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.” Daily Mail

“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.” Irish Independent

 

“Trollope's stylish but understated storytelling unrolls all these stories with empathy and energy, revealing a serious underlying preoccupation with the difficulties for women of combining family and career.” Sydney Morning Herald

 

City of Friends raises the dilemmas of many women and the different challenges they face whilst juggling career and family. Joanna Trollope knows these women and writes about them with honesty and truth.” Starts at 60

 

City of Friends, maps out a pertinent territory largely ignored by contemporary fiction… spikily observational middle-brow novels that explore the multiple frustrations, pressures and hidden agonies of the lives of modern women.” Metro

 

“In this, her 20th novel, she turns a sharp and reflective eye upon four friends in their workplaces… How important is work? How much more do women have to put with in the workplace than men? What price transparency, especially among friends? The author addresses all these questions with her customary insight and wisdom, depicting the characters with warmth and psychological veracity, drawing the reader deep into their lives.” Sunday Express

 

“This is a delightfully grown-up tale, deftly balancing escapist details with relatable office and home challenges, including ageing parents, rebellious teens and boardroom ethics. Posed and insightful, it’s a paean to the joys of leaning in – especially when the going gets tough.” The Mail on Sunday

 

“Trollope “has a gift for putting her finger on the problem of the times”. Her 20th novel, City of Friends, attests to that – focusing on four high-flying businesswomen friends and all the dilemmas they face with family, colleagues and children… Her novels are filled with emotional chaos, as she tackles the contemporary problems of fractured families, adoption, affairs, and myriad relationship and work issues.” Independent

 

“If you think you know what to expect from Joanna Trollope, think again. Far from the longstanding image of Agas, affluence and boltholes in the country, City of Friends is an altogether more urban tale of women, work, equal rights and unequal pay.” The Pool

 

“The queen of the Aga saga, has sold millions of books… dealing with everything from adultery and divorce to death. In City of Friends, Trollope’s 20th novel, she turns her focus to friendship…  It’s a book about how life doesn’t stop being messy just because you’re grown up and rich or successful, it just gets messy in different ways. It’s your classic themes of love, loss, betrayal.” The Times

 

“Trollope’s work cleverly tackles contemporary issues and raises the age-old question: can women have it all? Her observations are as astute as ever” Herald

“With characteristic light touch, she interweaves domestic dramas with the women’s reflections on why work matters and how to give a speech (don’t wave your hands; wear good shoes).” Financial Times

 

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

 

Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2012

HARPER COLLINS

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 . . .

2014

DOUBLEDAY

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?

2012

DOUBLEDAY

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?

2011

DOUBLEDAY

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.

2010

DOUBLEDAY

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.

2008

BLACK SWAN

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.

2006

BLOOMSBURY

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.

2006

BLACK SWAN

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.

2004

BLACK SWAN

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...

2002

BLACK SWAN

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.

2000

BLACK SWAN

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.

1998

BLACK SWAN

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)

1997

CORGI

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.

1996

BLACK SWAN

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.

1995

BLACK SWAN

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.

1993

BLACK SWAN

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?

1992

BLACK SWAN

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.

1990

BLACK SWAN

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.

1989

BLACK SWAN

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...

1988

BLACK SWAN

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.