The Best of Friends (1995)

by Joanna Trollope

The Best of Friends features the families of Gina Bedford and Laurence Wood, who have been close since high school but married other people. Their friendship has drawn in their spouses and children. Gina and husband Fergus have a 16-year-old daughter, and Laurence and wife Hilary have three teenage sons. When Fergus decides he can no longer abide Gina and leaves,
Laurence tries to be supportive of his old friend and crosses the line into an affair. Thus, two families are thrown into disarray and pain.

With abandonment, divorce, the betrayal of friendship, infidelity, and teenage confusion among the issues, how is it that Joanna Trollope has a reputation as a bit lightweight? (Not unlike her ancestor Anthony, she's read for enjoyment but not so much for serious insight about life's big issues.) Description is not the same as penetration. After finishing The Best of Friends, the reader is still not clear what really motivated the characters. Laurence, on whose decision (Will he go or will he stay?) the conclusion hangs, is especially impenetrable. 

That's not to say you should swear off Trollope, unless you won't spend time with any but the most serious literature. She tells a good story, and s
he writes so smoothly, she's a breeze to read.


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