Relationships tested as betrayal rears its ugly head
Emotional turmoil - often hidden by brave faces and stiff-upper-lip normality - is among the trademarks of Joanna Trollope's contemporary work.
Her 20th novel centres on four female friends who have shared joys and heartache since university and are now nearing their fifties and in high-flying careers.
But the dynamics of the group change when one of them is sacked and complications arising from betrayals, interwoven through both their professional and private lives threaten the future of the friendships.
Told in chapters focusing on each protagonist individually, 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, as female friendships, tricky teenagers, fractured families, elderly relatives and workplace issues are all thrown into the mix.
She makes an excellent case for the viewpoint that having an enjoyable job can save a woman's sanity.
- City of Friends, by Joanna Trollope. Mantle, £18.99