Growing up in a large Irish-American family, Meg Brennan Roberts has perfected the art of being responsible and of taking care of everyone else, often at the expense of herself. A successful publicist at a California winery, Meg is also the doting wife and mother to three children. But while she gives everything she has to keep things running smoothly and to keep everyone else happy, Meg finds that she feels empty and increasingly unhappy. And the one person who is supposed to be her partner for better or worse, her husband, is too consumed with his work to even notice.
When Meg agrees to attend the London Wine Fair with her handsome boss, Chad Hallahan, she has no idea that the few days away will change the way she sees herself and the life she’s built. Once Chad confesses his long standing feelings for Meg, she’s flattered and embarrassed and worried about what this will mean for their working relationship. Like a moth to a flame, she also finds it difficult to stay away and their fling quickly becomes more than either expects. Lacking for affection at home, Meg becomes reckless, throwing caution to the wind for the sake of a connection she’s long lost with her husband. And as most affairs go, Meg’s actions are not without consequences and she must soon decide where her heart lies and how much she’s truly willing to give up.
The Good Woman is the first book in the Brennan Sisters trilogy and while it focuses on Meg, there are plenty of strong and interesting characters to build on in future installments (according to the preview at the end, the next book will focus on Meg’s sister, Kit). The individual stories become especially pronounced as the Brennan girls gather for a weekend at their summer home in the beginning of The Good Woman. Meg is closest to her sister Kit, a Catholic school teacher who’s afraid to be alone and thus puts up with her boyfriend who won’t commit after more than a decade together. Kit’s twin, Brianna, is a free spirit, nursing the sick in Africa and riling up Meg when she’s back in the States, which does not happen too often. Their youngest sister, Sarah, is married to a baseball player with a penchant for cheating. The only boy in the family, Tommy, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a firefighter. Married for ten years to Cass, the couple struggles to conceive and goes through a series of heartbreaking IVF cycles. And of course, the parents, Tommy and Marilyn Brennan, are the backbone of the family, even while Marilyn struggles with several bouts of breast cancer and the ensuing treatments.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Good Woman and think that anyone, but especially readers with siblings, will enjoy the complicated Brennan family dynamics as penned by the skillful hand of Jane Porter. I previously read one other book by Porter – She’s Gone Country – and have always thought of her as a chick lit author. While The Good Woman can still be defined as chick lit and has the components that chick lit fans will definitely enjoy, it also has the added depth that makes the characters and their relationships with each other less romanticized and more realistic. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!
Also by Jane Porter: She’s Gone Country
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.