Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Balancing Act” as Want to Read:
Balancing Act
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Balancing Act

3.17  ·  Rating Details ·  762 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
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 wh
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 3rd 2014 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 20, 2014 Trish rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually enjoy Joanna Trollope's books with her insights into family life. This one less so. On the positive side, her depiction of the children Maisie and Fred was as vivid as usual for children in her books. They are living creatures who jump off the page.
Also, several phrases that the characters came out with stopped me in my tracks and got me exploring scenarios in my own family life.
On the negative side, I confused the main male characters throughout the book, mixing up Leo and Jasper whic
Jun 20, 2014 Phrynne rated it liked it
I am a big fan of Joanna Trollope and have all her books so I was looking forward to this one. It turned out to be a pleasant read with her usual variety of characters and a reasonably interesting story. However it certainly was not one of her best. I felt I must have missed the point somewhere as I could not understand what Susie had actually done to deserve what happens to her. As this is the focus of the entire book it is probably understandable that I came away from reading it feeling a bit ...more
Steve lovell
Sep 17, 2014 Steve lovell rated it really liked it

I once had a shirt. Back in the day I 'owned' this shirt – denim, with brass buttons – that I loved to wear. Its material had been softened by years of detergent washings and it fitted me to a tee. Of course, back then, I was leaner; tauter too. I figured in that shirt I looked as good as it was possible for me to look. Really, though, I had no fashion sense in the old century – still don't in this new one. I have no idea who purchased it for me as I rarely buy clothes for myself, but I wore it
Jan 30, 2015 Margaret rated it liked it
Although it has the theme of the family business I am finding it a bit disjointed
Jan 29, 2015 Lesley rated it it was ok
I have been a fan of Joanna Trollope for a very long time , but feel very let down by this one. Her characters are usually so well drawn and memorable but no-one in this bunch of dreary whingers stayed with me at all.
I simply couldn't work out why they were all so boring and negative. Even the token bad boy Jeff just sort of fizzled out without really living up to his reputation.
To me they all seemed to be terminally depressed and I couldn't undetstand why. Ultimately I didn't care.
I did quite l
May 04, 2014 MargCal rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, aga-saga
Finished reading “Balancing Act” by Joanna Trollope. May 2014
Back to her usual fare after her “Sense and Sensibility” fiasco. Another easy read, but not quite as enjoyable as most of her others. The family dynamics were interesting and credible as things unravelled before re-grouping to produce the 'happy ever after' ending. But in spite of that – or perhaps because of the 'happy ever after' ending in particular - the characters didn't quite ring true. The female characters are basically strong,
May 27, 2014 Nicky rated it it was ok
A really disappointing offering from Joanna Trollope after the brilliant Soldier's Wife? It was featured self indulgent spoilt characters and isn't worth bothering with
Dale Harcombe
Nov 06, 2016 Dale Harcombe rated it liked it
This is the first Joanna Trollope novel I have read in a long time. The story centres on Susie Moran, who founded and runs a successful pottery company. Her three daughters, Cara, Ashley and Grace, and one son in law, Daniel, are all involved in the highly profitable business. But change is imminent and Susie does not like change, especially when it mean relinquishing control, because Susie is quite simply a control freak.
The characters in the story are well portrayed and complex. Yet, although
Jan 24, 2016 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, kobo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brett Hetherington
Jun 05, 2015 Brett Hetherington rated it it was ok
[This article was first published in Catalonia Today magazine, June 2015.]

Here is a blatantly upper middle-class British family. They work together in a pottery-making business and this is the story of what happens to them in an eventful period of change in all of their lives.

Joanna Trollope, a former chair of the UK's Orange Prize for books, has recently made the mainstream news with her comments criticising UK literary festivals for their commercialism. She has said that she "feared festivals
Huw Rhys
Feb 19, 2015 Huw Rhys rated it it was ok
What is a bestseller?

What is a bestselling author?

And how do these things relate to the reader's enjoyment of a book?

And what is the purpose of a book - is it to entertain? Is it to inform? Is it to engage and stimulate the imagination, the senses, someone's core? Is it to shift us forward as human beings in some way or another?

And to bestselling authors do this better than anyone else? Or should that read, do they do it "best"?

This is a best selling book. For a fair few months now, as I write,
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
A review copy was provided by Gill Hess and Transworld in return for an honest review:

Release Date: 27/02/2014

Balancing act is a book that shows why you should never ever work with your family or close friends!

Susie Sullivan was abandoned as a baby and raised by her grandparents. Despite an unconventional up bringing she has grown to become a successful business woman

She is not only the name behind Susie Sullivan pottery. She is the life blood, the driving force behind the company that she start
Alex Gutteridge
Feb 01, 2015 Alex Gutteridge rated it liked it
Hmm! I probably didn't do myself or Joanna Trollope any favours after reading this so soon after Daughters in Law, which I love. To be honest I don't think Balancing Act is one of her best. I struggled to engage with the characters and found Susie's relationship with her husband to be under-developed. The author had done a lot of research about The Potteries and the whole process of making pottery but at the beginning I felt that all of this information got in the way of the story and slowed the ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Sandra rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2014
It's sixteen years since I last read a Joanna Trollope novel. I've changed a lot since then. Learnt to write novels of my own. So it came as a bit of a shock to realise that these novels a) haven't changed one iota in all that time and b) that they lack veracity. I find it shocking that I might to some extent have been using them to inform my view of how family life ought to go.
That said, of course, Joanna Trollope earns a living from her novels whereas I very certainly do not.
But it was depres
Nov 30, 2014 Serena rated it did not like it
Does anyone know whether this was published before 2014? I picked it up in a bit of a daze at the airport on Friday and could have sworn that I read it some time ago. It could be, though, that her books are becoming very formulaic- most of her books seem to feature three adult, middle class children and spouses/kids living in the modern working world who have to deal with an errant, ageing parent who everyone gets cross with. I used to love Trollope but I think she has lost her touch- the ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Sue rated it it was ok
I am a long term fan of Joanna Trollope, but hadn't read one of her books for a long time when i picked up this one. I have to say that sadly it doesn't match up to her earlier books. The characters are real and interesting and solid, but I was bemused to find that as I finished the book, I was still waiting for the story to start - it finishes in a flurry of cliches and predictability and just goes nowhere as if she's run out of time or inclination to write. A shame as I think the family ...more
Mary A
Aug 24, 2015 Mary A rated it liked it
I always enjoy a Joanna Trollope novel and am drawn in by her wonderful characterisation - but I have to admit this was not one of her best.
I struggled to identify with some of the characters - in particular, Susie - and things did seem to work out a bit neatly.
I really enjoyed the scenes with the children Maisie and Fred and Leo's struggles and triumphs at being a stay-at-home Dad - but found it hard to care about many of the other characters.
Except perhaps the prodigal father, Maurice, and co-
Aug 31, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
I am a great fan of Joanna Trollope's and have read most of her books. This is not one of the best. It tells the story of a family run business, and of Susie and her daughters who run it. Susie is convinced that she and she alone knows how to best run things, the girls have different ideas. Throw in a long lost father and some romantic action and there you have it. I thought it was similar in tone and story to Daughters-in-law. If you like Joanna Trollope, and enjoy this sort of English domestic ...more
Fran Hill
Dec 21, 2014 Fran Hill rated it it was ok
I've read a few of Joanna Trollope's books and always found them engaging and page-turning, but this one was more of a trial. I kept thinking, 'In a page or two, I'm bound to get more interested' and when the long-lost father turned up, I was hopeful. But although some of the scenes are written well, I think the book needed a better general edit to tighten it up, and I found some of the characters tedious if not annoying. The portrayal of the house-husband scenario was good, but overall I think ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Gail rated it liked it
I usually love Joanna Trollope's books, but this one was a bit of a disappointment. It's the story of a family pottery business, in which the mother is the head of the successful company and her 3 grown daughters have roles running it. The book, in a nutshell, is concerned with the dissatisfaction of each daughter with her place at work and at home. Eventually after numerous confrontations and gloom, the women find new ways to continue their working relationships.
May 25, 2015 Jean rated it liked it
I have read most of Joanna Trollope's novels and have always found them entertaining and engaging. I have to admit that I was rather disappointed in this book. Perhaps it was because she swopped from one character to another in short scenes throughout the book. I didn't feel that the characters - particularly Susan Moran's three daughters - were clearly defined. I managed to finish the book but it was not nearly as memorable as other books I have read by Joanna Trollope.
Another Joanna Trollope book where the author does what she does best: describe the lives and relationships of family members. In this case the story revolves around Susie, a successful business woman who has built a family business while her husband has stayed home to raise their three daughters. The daughters, now adults, are now part of the business and friction inside and outside the factory starts to fray everyone's nerves.

A perfectly enjoyable Trollope book that her fans will enjoy.
Jun 25, 2015 Cathy rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Joanna Trollope, but this book just didn't do it for me. I liked the story line, but somehow it wasn't compelling. Maybe too many characters and never enough time to get invested in each character. I liked the strong female characters and I liked the unconventional house-husbands.
Jun 05, 2014 Mary rated it liked it
Good enjoyable read, but not great. The end a bit unsatisfactory, there are issues raised in the lives of the characters which are not quite resolved.

As ever, Joanna Trollope produces loads of vivid characters, sometimes hard to remember who they all are.
Wendy Greenberg
Apr 02, 2014 Wendy Greenberg rated it it was ok
Family business run by mum - Susie and her 3 daughters holding different role in the company. Marriages, relationships, family and business all strained. Then Susie's absent father is thrown into the mix...middle class combustion follows...
Sep 22, 2014 Annalie rated it it was amazing
Joanna Trollope at her best! Her wonderful characters (including Polynesia the parrot) came to life for me, haunting my thoughts throughout the day and I'm sure I'll be thinking about them for a long time.
Apr 19, 2014 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Joanna Trollope. This was a slow family saga with a Emma Bridgewater undertones. Couldn't really get into it and it didn't seem to go anywhere. Non of the family members were particularly likeable. Not sure I would be in a hurry to pick up another title by this author.
Feb 03, 2015 Helcat rated it it was ok
I found this easy to read but a bit too much of the same old thing. Joanna Trollope has a dedicated public in the middle class but really none of these characters are particularly likeable or terribly interesting. Perhaps the old father has a little to offer but I think she was better before.
Sep 11, 2015 Adri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read

Joanna Trollope has the ability to create very believable characters. People very much like you or me. The story was interesting without ever becoming dramatic. A lovely read.
Jan 26, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Sun at Midnight
  • Daughters
  • The Western Light
  • Elisabeth's Daughter
  • When Hoopoes Go to Heaven
  • The Holiday Home
  • Something in Common
  • Chalcot Crescent
  • Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats
  • Cobra (Benny Griessel, #4)
  • Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper
  • The Bird Skinner
  • After the Bombing
  • Reading in Bed
  • Faith
  • The Grand Duchess of Nowhere
  • Summer at the Lake
  • Between Extremes
Joanna Trollope Potter Curteis (aka Caroline Harvey)

Joanna Trollope was born on 9 December 1943 in her grandfather's rectory in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England, daughter of Rosemary Hodson and Arthur George Cecil Trollope. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is a fifth-generation niece of the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trol
More about Joanna Trollope...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »