Book Review of the Good Daughters

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Joyce Maynard became one of my favorite female writers when I was living in Los Angeles. Because although I read about Labor Day many, many moons ago, when I lived in the USA, I read under the influence and the best of us – whom I both loved. Since then, I have read most of his books, but I hesitate to devour his entire catalog too quickly, as this would mean that I would have nothing more to read. Meeting Joyce in the flesh when I attended her memoir retreat at Atitlan Lake will forever be one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and every time I read her books I like to imagine her writing in her house overlooking the lake, a place where I also wrote.and a place that I hope to make again. Gertrude and Alice, my local bookstore in Bondi, know my love for Joyce, so I ordered a selection of her books – and when I saw that one of them was The Good Daughters– that I hadn’t read yet, I quickly bought a copy.

Book review the Good Girls

I can’t put my finger on what I love so much about Joyce’s books, but suffice to say; I love her, and the second I started the Good Girls, I knew it was going to be a struggle to put it down.

The story is an impressive, multi-layered and poetic narrative and begins on the night of a hurricane, with the wind blowing over the fields of the farm where much of the novel takes place.Crows are circling the barn and the sky outside is darkening.

Joyce’s beautiful writing sets the scene perfectly, and what follows is a staged, closely interwoven story that follows the “birthday sisters” Ruth Plank and Dana Dickenson from childhood to middle age in a moving, earthy landscape from rural New Hampshire to British Columbia and Boston. With a fascinating plot, sympathetic characters and a passionate narrative told by the alternating voices of Ruth and Dana, there was so much I loved about the book. Rich in heartbreak, rejection, weakness and failures of two very different families, a perfectly placed plot, exquisite writing and a subtle undercurrent that lasts throughout the narrative, The Good Daughters is an unimaginable and imaginative story that skillfully depicts both the meaning and the complexity of the family and the dark harmful of well-kept secrets.

Good Girls Summary

The bestselling author of Labor Day returns with a fascinating novel about friendship, family secrets and the strange twists of fate that shape our lives.

They were born on the same day in the same small hospital in New Hampshire in families that could hardly have been less similar to each other.

Ruth Plank is an artist and a romantic with a rich, passionate and imaginative life. As the last of five daughters of a gentle, caring peasant and his dead wife, she longs to fly beyond the borders of the country that has been the birthright of her family for generations.

Dana Dickerson is a scientist and realist whose faith is firmly rooted in the natural world. Raised by two wayward vagabonds who waste their lives in failed dreams, she longs for stability and rooting.

Ruth and Dana are different in almost every way and share the need to understand who they are and to find their place in a world in which no one really belongs. They also share a love for Dana’s wild and beautiful older brother Ray, who will leave an indelible mark on their hearts.

The Good Daughters is narrated by the alternating voices of Ruth and Dana and follows these “birthday sisters” on their way from the 1950s to the present. Storyteller Joyce Maynard tells about the unlikely ways in which the two women’s lives run parallel and intersect-from childhood and adolescence to first love, marriage and parenthood; from the passed away of parents to annulment, the loss of the house and the loss of a beloved partner—until past secrets and forgotten memories are unexpectedly revealed, forcing you to reassess and re-evaluate yourself.

Moving from rural New Hampshire to a remote island in British Columbia to the Boston art school scene of the 70s, The Good Daughters is an unforgettable story about the bonds of home and family, the devastating power of love, the healing power of forgiveness and the desire to know who we are.

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