Title: The Good Woman by Jane Porter
Brennan Sisters Series Book One
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Trade
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss
Is it possible to leave it all behind?
The firstborn of a large Irish-American family, 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 though her winery career thrives, Meg feels burned out and empty, and 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, especially that of her marriage. For Meg, something’s got to give, and for once in her life she flees her responsibilities—but with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating. Now she must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.
The Good Woman by Jane Porter is a captivating novel about the complexities of sibling and marital relationships. This first book in a series about a large, close-knit Irish Catholic family details Meg Roberts’ complicated yet loving relationships with her sisters. It is also a compelling story about her unhappiness with her marriage and her unexpected attraction to her sexy boss Chad.
The oldest of the Brennan children, Meg is the responsible one. She holds herself to high standards and the stress of always being perfect is wearing thin. She is overwhelmed by the demands of a busy life as a working wife and mother who works a “second shift” at home taking care of their children and household chores. After seventeen years of marriage, she is feeling neglected, overlooked and underappreciated by her husband Jack.
Another source of contention for Meg is her close but complex relationships with her family. The annual Brennan women’s retreat is anything but peaceful as each of the women is experiencing their own personal crises. Sarah, married to a major league ballplayer, is dealing with her insecurities in the aftermath of her husband’s affair. Kit is tired of waiting for her boyfriend of ten years to propose. Kit’s fraternal twin sister, Brianna is hypercritical of Meg, rude and sometimes downright hateful. Sister-in-law Cass and brother Tommy are struggling with infertility. But the news that devastates the family is the fact that their mother’s cancer has returned.
I think there are many women who will be able to relate to Meg and some of what she is going through. Busy, hectic lives keep us frantically trying to keep up with our kid’s various activities. It is easy to become complacent in long term relationships. Communication between partners fails when resentment builds. The dynamics between adult siblings are oftentimes mired down by long held rivalries and disagreements.
The Good Woman is an incredibly realistic novel that is heartbreaking and poignant. It is an accurate depiction of both the good and bad that comes with family life. Jane Porter takes her characters and her readers on an emotional journey that is full of surprising twists and turns.
An excellent first installment in a promising new series that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend. I am greatly anticipating The Good Daughter, the next novel in the Brennan Sisters trilogy.