When do friends become lovers and lovers, friends? Joanna Trollope runs through some the permutations in her quietly affecting new novel, The Best of Friends. Lawrence and Gina had been the best of friends since they were teenagers, but Lawrence married Hilary and had three children and Gina married Fergus and had a daughter. All four were friends for years, and their children followed suit. Then Fergus walks out on Gina, and a mini domino effect occurs. Lawrence, comforting his distraught best friend, discovers that he's in love with her and that his marriage too might be headed for dissolution. But it doesn't end there, no one walks off into the sunset wreathed in romance; rather, the confusion of lovers and friends gets sorted out in a salutary, civilized way. Davina Porter's narration echoes the compassion and charm of Ms. Trollope's story.

Reviewed by Sukey Howard.

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