The best-selling author of Labor Day returns with a spellbinding novel about friendship, family secrets, and the strange twists of fate that shape our lives
The good daughters: 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 - 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.
©2010 Joyce Maynard (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
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"Loved this book!"
I loved every minute of this book. I was very impressed by the reading though the reader for Dana was initially talking too fast. The reader for Ruth was excellent!!! The development of this story was superb and I really got an insight into the two characters. Well done and a very enjoyable listen.
"Excellent narration, good story, except for....."
I loved the narration, the writing was excellent, and this could have been a (5) star rating except for.....well, I don't want to give away the pivotal plot twist ( although it's pretty blatant ), but it was just a little too much to accept, and too many coincidences throughout the story. I like this author, an excellent writer, and if you can go with the glaring plot misstep, and the too-neat ending, it's a good book.
"Maynard, once again, knocks it out of the ballpark"
Loved them all. Each one is so well developed, so rich.
Joyce Maynard has such a wonderful voice. A novel is always all the more special when the author narrates. The Good Daughters has an extra treat with 3 narrators...delicious.
Absolutely, unfortunately I had to turn it off while working.
The family secret on which this plot hung was obvious after only a few minutes. Even the final twist on the secret was obvious early on. This would have been a far more interesting book if Joyce Maynard had revealed it all to the reader in a prologue and developed the characters within that framework.
That said, the plot was poignant, and the characters were generally likable through most of the book. It seemed a shame, though, to learn near the end that perhaps the most likable character was guilty of making a truly monstrous decision years before, rather than having been as much victim as everyone else. I was left feeling cheated by that revelation after investing too much in a character capable of something so awful. Again, had we known of this character's actions at the outset and seen the flaws, contradictions and complexities developed during the course of the book, I think it might have been possible to come away with affection for the character intact.
Maynard captures the setting and era well. Overall, I think The Good Daughters is worth a listen. I only wish the potential in its premise had been more fully realized.
"A Piece of Americana"
This was a heart wrenching story. On the surface it seems simple. Family secrets are never simple. They change lives in ways no one can predict.
"So sorry this story ended"
This is one of those books that makes the reader sad when the story ends. Captivating , could hardly stop listening.
I loved "Under the Influence". This book was in a word annoying! I don't want to give away the plot, but I could not get past Ruth's not persisting in discovering why her Mother did what she did to her! I got so annoyed waiting for someone to uncover the truth about Dana and Ruth that I could not even finish the book!
The narrator who read the character Ruth was dreadful - monotone.
She builds up the characters so well! Like riding an emotional roller coaster. Little twists and turns along the way.
"Great Story. One of Maynard's best."
Engaging, great character development and an interesting premise. It also spans history reminiscent, though more brief, of Forrest Gump.
Woodstock and Canada.
I would find in brief break to steal a listen, at times to the point, of seeming rude.
I felt like I was at home in this story. The magic is in making you feel at home, not in the arc of the story.
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