Books by Joanna Trollope

It's not surprising that Joanna Trollope became a writer, especially considering her family history. She's the fifth-generation niece of Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope. While working as a teacher, Trollope began writing in the evenings as a way to keep herself entertained after her children had gone to bed. By 1980, her first book, Eliza Stanhope, was released, and she had become a full-time writer. Trollope's latest novel, Daughters-In-Law, is out this week. Photo credit: Barker Evans

Released: Oct. 29, 2013

"A questionable remake of a classic, honorably undertaken but coarser and less comic than the original—unsurprisingly."
Six best-selling modern writers were commissioned by the Austen Project to update the classic novels. Matchless chronicler of Middle England Trollope (Daughters in Law, 2011, etc.) was paired with Sense & Sensibility, which now morphs into upmarket chick-lit. Read full book review >
SOLDIER'S WIFE by Joanna Trollope
Released: June 5, 2012

"Eminently skimmable."
An English military wife has difficulty adjusting to her husband's return from Afghanistan. Read full book review >
DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW by Joanna Trollope
Released: April 5, 2011

"With conversations between pairs of characters substituting for events, this is a smoothly drawn but comparatively lackluster parable of family dynamics."
Family ties bind rather too tightly in the bestselling author's latest capable snapshot of British middle-class domesticity. Read full book review >
THE OTHER FAMILY by Joanna Trollope
Released: April 1, 2010

"Trollope (Friday Nights, 2008, etc.) treats her characters with tough love, refusing to either downplay or offer pat solutions to their predicaments."
Second family of a British entertainer is unpleasantly surprised by his legacy, in Trollope's latest sensitive depiction of domestic upheaval. Read full book review >
FRIDAY NIGHTS by Joanna Trollope
Released: May 1, 2008

"Insightful and reassuring if a little contrived."
Trollope (Second Honeymoon, 2006, etc.) freshens up a tired chick-lit device, the woman's group, in this story about a group that falls apart when one of the members falls in love. Read full book review >
SECOND HONEYMOON by Joanna Trollope
Released: March 7, 2006

"Modest and unerringly real—a love song to ordinary life."
British author Trollope's tale of confronting life post-motherhood is a masterpiece of the mundane. Read full book review >
BROTHER AND SISTER by Joanna Trollope
Released: April 24, 2004

"Yet another winner from the author of, among many others, Marrying the Mistress (2000)."
The prolific British author sensitively describes the confused responses as an adopted brother and sister search for their birth parents. Read full book review >
GIRL FROM THE SOUTH by Joanna Trollope
Released: June 4, 2002

"Vintage Trollope, fluidly and accessibly written as always, now with an American twist."
The prolific Trollope (Next of Kin, 2001, etc.) spins another engaging tale about life‘s twists and turns, occasioned as much by character as circumstance, and the ways family ties both help and hinder. Read full book review >
A SECOND LEGACY by Joanna Trollope
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"With some darker shading—graphic details of the refugee camps—an unabashedly romantic tale of love and adventure for a contemporary heroine who understands there's more to life than a man."
In a sequel to Legacy of Love, Trollope—"writing as Caroline Harvey"— takes up the story of the resourceful female descendants of Charlotte Bewick, who found love and adventure in Afghanistan in 1849. Here, she details how Alexia and daughter Carly keep up the family traditions in the 1960s and '80s. Read full book review >
NEXT OF KIN by Joanna Trollope
Released: July 9, 2001

"Still, despite its flaws: a refreshingly unsentimental story about people trying, not always successfully, to do what's right."
The popular Trollope (Marrying the Mistress, 2000, etc.) again deftly profiles ordinary men and women learning to adapt as their lives are disrupted by change and loss. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2000

"Masterful storytelling and memorable characters combine to give us a wise and gently truthful take on a highly charged subject."
Another splendidly nuanced tale of contemporary family life from the always expert Trollope (Other People's Children, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
THE BRASS DOLPHIN by Joanna Trollope
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

A Bantam hardcover in 1997, published under the pseudonym of Caroline Harvey, this first of a series vividly details the tough lessons about love and life a young Englishwoman learns on Malta during WWII. As usual, Trollope's characters are originals with as many flaws as virtues, but mostly they can change, plus act courageously. This they do on the island that received the George Cross, Britain's highest civilian honor, for its citizens" remarkable bravery under enemy attack. In 1938, 21- year-old Lila and her father must accept her British employer's offer to take care of a villa on Malta; Lila's Pa, a sometime artist and perennial bon vivant, has spent all their money. The Villa Zonda is run-down, the people are initially hostile, and the way of life is unfamiliar, but Lila's lot improves when she starts working for Count Julius, a local historian, in his splendid home. She meets his nephews Anton and Max, and falls in love with Anton. When war breaks out, Max enlists, as does Anton, who asks Lila to wait for him, and existence on Malta becomes increasingly perilous. The Germans bomb the island continually, their fleet surrounds it, food is scarce. Lila works in a hospital with the indomitable Miss de Vere, who, contemptuous of Count Julius and his nephews, counsels that there is more to life than luxury. Although Lila seldom hears from Anton, she doesn—t consider handsome schoolmaster Angelo as a suitor. At least not yet: She has more heartbreak to endure and more tough decisions to make. But character, as it should, wins out. Intelligent historical fiction with characters strong enough to compete with the events they're illuminating, by a master of the genre (Other People's Children, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1999

From acclaimed Britisher Trollope (The Best of Friends, 1998, etc.), a bittersweet tale of the painfully divided affections created whenever a stepfamily is formed. An adroit choreographer of the baffled dance of the contemporary English family, Trollope now details the confusions caused as old marriages end and new alliances solidify. When Josie Carver marries Matthew Mitchell, a deputy-school principal, it's a second marriage for each. Both have children from their first: for Josie, it's eight-year- old Rufus, while Matthew has three—Becky, 15, Rory, 12, and 10-year old Claire. The previous marriages were mutually unsatisfactory. Josie, married to widower Tom, with grown children of his own, found him decent but dull. Matthew, hitched to volatile, self-absorbed Nadine, tired of coping with her eccentric behavior. But, though stepmothers are traditionally regarded as malevolent forces, stepchildren can also behave badly. And while the Mitchell trio found mother Nadine difficult to deal with, loyalty demands that they now make Josie's life difficult (as well as their father's). In fact, Tom's adult daughter Dale deliberately destroys his new romance with thirtysomething civil servant Elizabeth—because Dale never got over the death of her own mother when she was a child. The parents are also tugged by loyalties to their children. Josie's new marriage undergoes increasing strain as Nadine blackmails her children emotionally, the children fail at school, and Becky runs away. When Matthew's three move back with him, Josie feels not just even more stressed but alienated from Matthew (who takes his children's side instead of supporting her). Still, Nadine's emotional breakdown and a professional crisis for Matthew bring the family closer together, and Josie's Rufus begins to feel as much a part of the new family as his half-siblings. Family ties affirmed with warmth and wisdom. (Literary Guild Selection) Read full book review >
THE BEST OF FRIENDS by Joanna Trollope
Released: June 1, 1998

From the British writer who specializes in domestic tales with an edge (A Spanish Lover, 1997, etc.), a wonderfully calibrated story of an old high-school friendship that in middle age turns suddenly treacherous and destructive. Trollope is one of those rare writers who creates fully human characters living in recognizable worlds doing regular jobs and suffering all the bitter disappointments that flesh is heir to. Gina, whose mother Vi—a character with her own fierce passions—was abandoned by the American soldier who got her pregnant, became friends with Laurence in high school in the small English town where they both lived. And even after she marries Fergus, and after Laurence marries Hilary, they remain splendidly close. Gina's teenaged daughter Sophy and Laurence's three sons are also good friends. And so when Fergus moves out of the beautiful home he and Gina have created, announcing that their marriage is over, he sets in motion events that almost destroy not only his own family but Laurence's as well. A distraught Gina turns to Laurence for consolation, and Laurence, who has been feeling overwhelmed by work and family—he runs a hotel and restaurant—ardently responds. Divorces are planned. An anxious Vi, whose dear friend Dan dies in the midst of it all, watches from the side. Sophy runs off to Fergus, who, though not gay, is living with a man who loves him; and Sophy quickly realizes that life with Dad is no solution either. Laurence's boys are equally upset, but, when Hilary decides to fight for Laurence, good sense and solid affections prevail, albeit not without compromise and unexpected change. A wise and sympathetic take on the strains and strengths that friendship provokes, by a writer who seldom strikes a wrong note. A moving, convincing, satisfying novel. (Author tour) Read full book review >
A SPANISH LOVER by Joanna Trollope
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

Love comes late but abundantly to Frances, long pitied by her twin sister and her family for always being an also-ran. Like her illustrious ancestor, Trollope (The Choir, 1995, etc.) is a clear-eyed recorder of the sudden domestic tempests that roil even the most placid backwaters of English life, tempests fueled by the ties of family affection and habit. As the family gathers for Christmas at the lovingly restored Georgian house of Lizzie and Robert in a village near Bath, long-simmering discontents and new threats from the outside appear to threaten both Lizzie's marriage and her relationship with twin sister Frances. Lizzie, the dominant twin, seems to have it all: a beautiful home, four healthy children, and a loving husband with whom she is a partner in a successful gallery and design shop. Frances, on the other hand, has drifted through life pitied by Lizzie for not fulfilling her potential. Though she owns a prospering travel business, Frances, now in her late 30s, is unmarried, and she resents Lizzie's sympathy, which she finds condescending. But when Frances meets and falls in love with Luis Moreno, a married Spanish businessman, Lizzie is ashamed and surprised by her envious reaction to Frances's happiness. While Frances's love affair unfolds, Lizzie's secure life crumbles: The recession hurts her business; she quarrels with Robert; they lose their house; and she has to take a dull secretarial job to bring in money. Frances's decision to have Luis's baby and live in Spain as a single mother brings Lizzie's long-buried envy of the newly independent Frances to a head. The sisters clash, and Frances in turn helps Lizzie admit her jealousy and self-pity. Life improves for Lizzie and Robert, while Frances turns to face new challenges, confidently, with no regrets. A wonderfully wise and bracingly honest novel that celebrates happiness and the good, quiet things that sustain the human spirit. (Book-of-the-Month Club selection; author tour) Read full book review >
THE CHOIR by Joanna Trollope
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

From a descendant of the Bard of Barchester, a seventh novel (The Men and the Girls, 1993, etc.) and an upcoming Masterpiece Theatre dramatization that breathlessly chronicles minor intrigue on a venerable English cathedral close. Though gritty Aldminster and its ancient cathedral are less famous than the lightly disguised Salisbury that Anthony Trollope himself immortalized as Barchester, and though the present story's politics, both temporal and spiritual, are moderated by contemporary realities, the whole still has an old-fashioned feel. Characters, even adolescentsdespite references to rock music, anti-nuclear demonstrations, and apartheidsound like the cast of a 1930s drawing-room drama. Mostly, they are period figures caught up in a quintessentially Old England conflict as Cathedral Dean Hugh Cavendish embarks on a devious scheme to get the money needed to repair his beloved cathedral. His announcement that the choir can no longer be funded by the Cathedral Chapter immediately divides the close, as does his decision to secure more money by selling the choir school headmaster's historic house to the city council, who want to use it as an advisory center. While the Dean plots on, the opposition rallies: Headmaster Alexander Troy, whose wife has temporarily disappeared; Leo Beckford, the talented but idiosyncratic organist and choirmaster; and Ianthe, the Dean's daughter, who has her own reasons for opposing her father. Caught in the middle is young Henry Ashworth, whose sublime voice makes a recording of the choir a bestseller, but whose grandfather is against local funding for the choir and whose mother is in love with Leo. The intrigue will be fast, furious, and only rarely high- minded. A thin and relentlessly quaint there'll-always-be-an-England story: The passion is as tepid as breakfast toast, but scenes of angelic faces singing sweetly in the choir will no doubt play well on TV. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE MEN AND THE GIRLS by Joanna Trollope
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

Happy endings of the most defensible kind, helped along by an unlikely good fairy—Miss Beatrice Bachelor, a ``real original and very brave''—abound in Trollope's latest take on love and life in contemporary Britain (A Village Affair, 1989, etc.). Set mostly in that part of Oxford familiar to PBS fans of Inspector Morse, the story, like an updated Shakespearean comedy, begins with two couples that drift into dangerous areas come close to parting, but, thanks to the good offices of Miss Bachelor, are reunited at the end. James Mallow, in his early 60s, a journalist and teacher, lives happily with much younger Kate and her 14-year- old daughter, Joss, along with ancient and irascible Uncle Leonard. James's old friend Hugh, a TV personality married to much younger Julia, and father of young twin sons, lives nearby. An accident introduces James to Miss Bachelor, who lives in one room, along with Cat, a character in his own right. Meanwhile, Kate, feeling increasingly overwhelmed by her responsibilities—she also volunteers at a home for battered women—decides to move out, but Joss, a typical adolescent, stays on. It's the only home she knows, and she, as well as Uncle Leonard, has by now met Miss Bachelor and is also taken with her good sense and originality. Though Hugh's show on euthanasia—Uncle Leonard and Miss Bachelor, who helped her ailing brother die, contribute their forthright opinions—is a hit, Hugh's contract is not renewed. Which means that when Julia behaves absolutely marvelously to him, Hugh can't stand it and moves in with James. Kate, badly beaten by a lover, finally meets Miss Bachelor, who gives her the advice she needs. Hugh, missing the twins, heads home; subplots are deftly resolved; and all's well that ends well. One of those rare novels that can claim the high middle-ground where wisdom, wit, and literate characters meet to tell an entertaining—and all-around fulfilling—story. Read full book review >