Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book Review: The Good Woman by Jane Porter

Best-selling author Jane Porter's* latest novel, The Good Woman, follows the Brennan sisters and family, a big Irish-Catholic clan living in the San Fransisco area. Meg Brennan Roberts is the eldest child, and now as a married mother of two, she is still the one looking out for her younger siblings, even while attempting to keep up the facade of the perfect family with her own husband and kids. Her entire life, Meg has prided herself for having a good head on her shoulders, for being responsible, and for making good choices. She is the voice of reason, always ready with good advice, and always knowing what is best for her family.

But is everything as perfect in Meg's world as she would have everyone believe? She begins to realize that her life is not satisfying, and that while she is busy worrying about everyone else and taking care of her loved ones, no one is looking out for her best interests - not even Meg herself. When a business trip with her boss, vineyard owner Chad Hallahan, turns a little too personal, Meg begins to realize what is missing in her life. From this point on, she begins a downward spiral of doubt, remorse and self-discovery, but where will she wind up in the end?

I love stories about big families, and The Good Woman was no exception. Although I personally grew up as an only child, I always had my large extended family surrounding me, and from my mom (one of seven kids) learned glimpses of what it might have been like to live in a home crawling with people. Maybe that's partly why I wanted a big family of my very own. I can imagine Meg's frustrations as she tries to set an impeccable example at all times, yet suddenly feels she is under everyone's scrutiny when she begins to question her place in the world. While she has her large family to support her, she also has to deal with the sometimes too-close-for comfort opinionated voices of all of them as well. I enjoyed the characters and the story of The Good Woman. What 21st century mother can't relate to the expectations to be and do everything at once, and the panic of feeling that all the balls you're juggling are in danger of crashing down around your feet at any moment? I look forward to the next Brennan Sisters novel, The Good Daughter, which will be coming out in February, so I can get to know this literary family even better.

* Porter is the author of She's Gone Country, Easy on the Eyes, and Flirting with Forty, the basis of a Lifetime movie.

I received a copy of The Good Woman for review purposes. All opinion are my own.

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