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The Good Daughtersby Joyce Maynard
Synopses & Reviews
They were born on the same day, in the same small New Hampshire hospital, into families that could hardly have been less alike.
Ruth Plank is an artist and a romantic with a rich, passionate, imaginative life. The last of five girls born to a gentle, caring farmer and his stolid wife, she yearns to soar beyond the confines of the land that has been her family's birthright for generations.
Dana Dickerson is a scientist and realist whose faith is firmly planted in the natural world. Raised by a pair of capricious drifters who waste their lives on failed dreams, she longs for stability and rootedness.
Different in nearly every way, Ruth and Dana share a need to make sense of who they are and to find their places in a world in which neither has ever truly felt she belonged. They also share a love for Dana's wild and beautiful older brother, Ray, who will leave an indelible mark on both their hearts.
Told in the alternating voices of Ruth and Dana, The Good Daughters follows these "birthday sisters" as they make their way from the 1950s to the present. Master storyteller Joyce Maynard chronicles the unlikely ways the two women's lives parallel and intersect — from childhood and adolescence to first loves, first sex, marriage, and parenthood; from the deaths of parents to divorce, the loss of home, and the loss of a beloved partner — until past secrets and forgotten memories unexpectedly come to light, forcing them to reevaluate themselves and each other.
Moving from rural New Hampshire to a remote island in British Columbia to the '70s Boston art-school scene, The Good Daughters is an unforgettable story about the ties of home and family, the devastating force of love, the healing power of forgiveness, and the desire to know who we are.
"Two families, the Planks and the Dickersons, are mysteriously entwined in this exquisite novel that centers on decades of life at a New Hampshire farm. Youngest daughters Ruth Plank and Dana Dickerson, born on the same day in the same hospital, take turns narrating the struggles they face as children. Ruth feels a coldness from her mother; Dana is unsettled by her kooky parents constantly uprooting her and her brother Ray. Regardless, the Planks pay a yearly visit to the Dickersons no matter where they've ended up living. As the girls come of age, Ruth takes an interest in art, sex, and Dana's brother, Ray, with whom she later reunites, at Woodstock, in a swirl of drugs and mud. Meanwhile, Dana realizes that her desires are directed toward women and sets off to pursue agricultural studies at a university, where she meets Clarice, an assistant professor. As time goes by, the floundering Plank Farm is in danger of being seized by Ruth's former boyfriend, a man who has had his eye on the land for years. As Ruth and Dana pursue love, contemplate children, and search for home, the truth of what unites their families is finally — at long last — revealed, in this beautifully written book. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"[Maynard] weav(es) a knotty tale of family secrets, told in the alternating voices of her likable main characters." Entertainment Weekly
"An impressive writer...with a fine sense of time, of place, of humor." Buffalo News
"Beautifully written." New Orleans Times-Picayune
"Maynard...is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness." Record Searchlight
"Maynard's inventive coming-of-age tale indelibly captures the anxiety and confusion inherent in adolescence, while the addition of a menacing element of suspense makes this emotionally fraught journey that much more harrowing." Booklist
"Maynard is a clever storyteller." Seattle TimesS
"Maynard's spare prose packs a rich emotional punch...a can't put-it-down mystery." People
"The Good Daughters shows Maynard's strengths once again — particularly in vivid descriptions of farm life, geographies, and relationships of all kinds. Passions and psychological changes in a character over time ring most true." Providence Journal
"Maynard details Henry's roller-coaster emotions for Frank — he is both jealous and grateful — and his mother's emotional journeys — with skill and tenderness for the uncertain willingness of broken hearts to mend. The poignant results are revealing of our ability to forgive and to grow." Smart Money
"Maynard spins a fascinating story of damaged people seeking the one thing they long for — love. " Times Record News
"Powerful." Newark Star Ledger
"Maynard deftly pulls the reader into the fragile lives of these three vulnerable characters and their preordained march toward the novel's denouement. A marvelous read — perfect for one long sitting — this novel leaves the reader wishing it didn't ever have to end." BookPage
"Maynard offers fresh insight into what constitutes family." USA Today
"It is a testament to Maynard's skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale." Washington Post
"Unexpected and heartbreaking....Arguably [Maynard's] best work yet." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"But apart from being a successful thriller, this book is a fascinating portrait of what causes a family to founder, and how much it can cost to put it back on the right path. " NPR.org
"Absorbing." More Magazine
"Rich and realistic...touching." Library Journal
The bestselling author of Labor Day returns with a spellbinding novel about friendship, family secrets, and the strange twists of fate that shape our lives.
“A story of choices and events so intimate I felt I was part of it. The novel is wrenching, the emotions radiant, and it will leave readers transformed”
“Joyce Maynard has outdone herself in this beautifully written story youll find hard to put down and impossible to forget.”
Bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Labor Day, Joyce Maynard now brings us The Good Daughters, a spellbinding novel about friendship, family secrets, and the strange, unexpected twists of fate that shape our lives. The story of two women born the same day in the same hospital, but raised in vastly different emotional environments, The Good Daughters is another high note in Maynards already distinguished writing career.
About the Author
Joyce Maynard has been a reporter for the New York Times, a magazine journalist, a radio commentator, and a syndicated columnist, as well as the author of five novels, including To Die For, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir At Home in the World has been translated into nine languages. She is a regular contributor to More magazine and has contributed to the New York Times, National Public Radio, O, The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, the New York Times Magazine, Forbes, and Salon. Maynard appears as a storyteller with The Moth in New York City. The mother of three grown children, she divides her time between homes in Mill Valley, California, and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where she runs writing workshops.
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