28 May 2016

The Good Daughters, by Joyce Maynard

Two girls are born on the same day in a small town in New Hampshire. This book follows their lives, and their families, as they grow up to be adults. Dana Dickerson's family consists of her brother, Ray; her father, George; and her mother, Valerie. George goes from one get-rich-quick scheme to another over the course of years. Valerie is distant from her family, an artist of some talent (she is a painter), who has little time for her children. George is always leaving for the next big thing.

Ruth Plank's family is quite different. She has four sisters. Her father, Edwin, is a farmer. They live on the farm that has been in his family for many generations. Her mother, Connie, is a hard-working farmer's wife with a strong religious faith.

The story is told in chapters labeled either "Ruth" or "Dana." Most of the time these simply alternate back and forth, in first-person narrative from each point of view.

This is another excellent and completely engrossing novel by Joyce Maynard. As the story of these two women unfolds, a great mystery is revealed, and not fully solved until nearly the last page.

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