these are the books I would have wanted.
As it was, I read these in the sand-free, airconditioned atmosphere of my bedroom and living room.
I picked this up because it had a mention of Ireland, and a woman "finding herself" in the blurb. I think I also hoped it would talk about knitting because I bought it at the same time as Casting Off. There isn't any knitting as I recall. But there is interesting conflict and development of character by males and females among the three plot lines' worth of characters. Cathy Kelly has written lots of other novels that I've never seen in the US. In some circles she's cited as having taken up the pen (laptop?) of Maeve Binchy.
Another Irish locale, this one on an island where knitting has been in the family for generations. And a troubled single mother, anthropologist student of fiber lands trying to recover from a hauntingly bad relationship. The rural charm and simpleness of the characters are as comforting to the heroine
I've read and enjoyed all of Joanna Trollope's novels (so far as I know). Usually there is a compelling central issue dealth with from a variety of points of view by an interesting assortment of characters. I suppose the "issue" of Friday Nights is loneliness of the urban (or suburban) woman. It wasn't terribly compelling to me personally (but then I have "the internets" to keep me company!)-- yet it also includes what happens to friendships between single women when a relationship with a man begins, ends, or sours. That was more interesting. From an 88 year old retiree, to two young sisters who are NOT peas in a pod, and business partners who see things from different points of view.
For me, this was the most challenging book to read. A group of "friends" who graduated together are reunited years later for the marriage of two of them. That the wedding is to take place at the Maine "estate" of Bridezilla's horrible mother, and that no one except the bride thinks it is a good match is painful to observe. The novel itself is told from the point of view of a Jewish (i.e. non-WASP) woman who IS who the groom should be marrying. Considerable suspense and concern for just desserts ensues.