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Balancing Act by Joanna Trollope

Balancing Act

by Joanna Trollope

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‘Balancing Act’ is a novel about a family of strong-minded women. The dynamic founder of a successful craft company has raised three very different daughters who all work for her, and who, in different ways, want things to change.

Each relationship in the book, between family members and their spouses, is simmering under low-key tension. It doesn’t take much of a catalyst to lead to some outspoken confrontations. The catalyst is a delightful elderly hippy who invades one daughter's space, and makes cracks in her mother’s need for control over her life and family.

There isn’t much plot. It’s a character-based novel, and flits from person to person, home to home, with plenty left up to the reader’s imagination. While I felt that too much background was given in the early chapters, some of it turned out to be relevant later on.

My biggest problem with the book is that most of the characters are rather flat, perhaps because none of them has a sole viewpoint and we don't see much into anybody's mind. Still, I liked one of the husbands, who is filled with good humour and empathy, and I was also very taken with a realistic three-year-old who is going through a defiant stage but needs a great deal of love and understanding.

The writing is good, although it could have done with a bit of proof-reading; not to correct grammar, but an annoying phrase that was used too often. Still, that’s a minor quibble. On the whole I thought it a relaxing read. There’s no real emotional depth to the novel, but nothing unpleasant about it either and the ending is encouraging.

Not recommended if you want a good plot, or indeed a story with high drama, but if you enjoy light women’s fiction with diverse characters, this would probably would make good holiday reading.
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  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
British pottery tycoon Susie Maron is threatened by the skills and progressive thinking of her three daughters who have joined the business and made it even more successful. The father who abandoned her at birth has returned, and her husband and reformed his band from the 70's. A beautifully written book about relationships, conflicts and growth and how one balances work and family life. ( )
  CarterPJ | Oct 27, 2014 |
A pleasant enough story about a family business. The mother Susie has established it neglecting her marriage and her children in the process. the grown up children are flexing their muscles and want to have a larger say in the running of the business. And then to top it all off Susies father,, who left with his wife when she was a baby so that she was brought up by her grandmother, returns and throws a spanner in the works as everyone tries to relate to him. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Jul 16, 2014 |
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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?… (more)

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