By: Jane Porter
Published: September 4, 2012
Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being "the good woman" have taken a toll and Meg feels burned out and empty, more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner, Chad Hallahan. It's here, alone together in an exotic city, far from "real" life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg. Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she's ever made. Fleeing her responsibilities—with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating—Meg must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.
This story attracted me most because it is about a woman in her early 40's who acts like her life is in control when, in reality, most of the time it isn't. She is also one of 4 sisters, and as one of 3 sisters, I am usually drawn to sister stories. This story is set in Napa Valley and so I found myself craving wine while reading this book as the descriptions of the settings and wines in this novel were reminding me of my trip to California with my girlfriends and the delicious wines we found there.
I related to Meg right away as she was the one daughter who took care of everyone and was the rule follower. She worked hard, achieved success and made everyone proud. She handled all the day-to-day managing in her family and made her children her priority. Meg feels like her husband doesn't understand the pressure she is under and is too focused on his career rather than his family and his marriage. Suddenly, life overwhelms her and she makes a choice that will alter her and her family's life forever. I think any woman reading this story will be able to identify with Meg or her sisters at some point in their life and Porter's portrayal of them and their emotions were spot-on. Porter has a witty and fresh way of delivering her characters and making you relate and care about each one of them
This story reads quickly and flows easily with its first person storytelling. You are able to get into Meg's head and understand her reasoning and her emotions and feel them along with her. You join her in her struggles and pain and wish that she hadn't taken the wrong path. The ripple effects of Meg's mistakes were huge and I liked how the author took liberty in not having everyone be happy or okay with Meg's choices.
One part of the novel that I had a hard time with was Meg's relationship with her mother. After finding out that her mother's cancer is back and it is terminal, I expected Meg, as the devoted daughter, to be more present with her mom. Her mom wasn't mentioned much more in the novel and Meg seemed to focus instead on her life rather than wanting to be with her mom. I don't think that matched well with Meg's character and was disappointed when this part of the story wasn't really finished when the novel ended. I was also curious about Meg's relationship with her sister, Sarah at the end of the novel. Did Sarah ever forgive Meg?
I do realize this is the first book in the Brennan Sisters series, with THE GOOD DAUGHTER, about Kit, and THE GOOD WIFE, about Sarah, coming up next. But, I feel like these were important characters in this story to have some closure with. I do hope it will be addressed in the coming novels.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, the characters, and the setting. I look forward to learning more about Kit in the next novel, THE GOOD DAUGHTER and following along in her and her sisters' lives.
THE GOOD WOMAN would make an excellent book club choice, even one with both male and female members. With topics such as marriage, infidelity, parenting, family dynamics, forgiveness, and trust, you are sure to have an excellent discussion.
I'm sad to admit, this is my first Jane Porter novel. As the author of numerous Classic Romance and Modern Lit books, I guess I am a little late to the party. I look forward to reading the rest of the Brennan Sisters stories and looking into Porter's other novels. If you are interested in learning about her and her novels, visit www.JanePorter.com.
Thanks to Penguin for sending a copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion and I was not compensated in any way for this review.