Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: The Good Wife

By Melissa Amster

I've been keeping up with the Brennan Sisters ever since I read The Good Woman last autumn. At that time, readers were introduced to Sarah, the youngest sister, and heard about some of her marital anxieties and how they affected her relationship with her oldest sister, Meg. This time around, we get to hear more about Sarah's story and find out what the other sisters are up to in The Good Wife, the third and final novel in the Brennan Sisters trilogy.

Despite Sarah's husband's infidelity three years ago, he has remained faithful ever since. However, Sarah doesn't know whether she can trust him or not and the tension is building in their marriage as a result. In the meantime, her husband is facing changes and questions in where his career as a professional baseball player is going and Sarah is wondering if she gave up too much of herself when they got married. As her husband's career continues to affect their family, as well as Sarah's shaky trust, will their marriage become stronger than ever or is it doomed to fall apart at the seams?

After meeting Jane Porter this past spring, I got a stronger feel for her literary voice. I could almost hear Jane narrating the story out loud as I was turning the pages. She writes so genuinely and authentically that I forget I'm reading a book and feel like the characters are sitting right next to me, telling me about their joys and fears, as well as their deepest secrets. I even felt like I was right in the action at the baseball games and could practically taste the peanuts and smell the hot dogs cooking nearby. Jane's use of detail is fantastic, as always, without ever taking away from the story. The narrative and descriptions go hand-in-hand throughout.

There is another story taking place within this novel. Lauren Summer is grappling with whether she should stay and put all her money into a restaurant that isn't profiting or go back to work with her sister at the restaurant they own jointly in their hometown, where a lot of painful memories are awaiting her. In some ways, I liked this story the most out of the novel, even though some parts were heartbreaking to read. The balance of the ultimately satisfying parts made it even more worthwhile to shed some tears. However, Lauren's story overshadowed Sarah's story and pushed it in the backseat until the novel was getting close to the final 100 or so pages. Then it was Sarah's turn in the spotlight. By that time, it felt rushed. I still liked reading about Sarah, and her paranoia over her husband possibly having another affair felt so real that I almost took it on personally.

In the meantime, we also get to find out what is going on in the lives of Meg, Bree, Kit and their brother, Tommy (with Cass). I don't want to spoil anything, but I feel like some of the stories were left hanging for more novels to be written about them later, even though it doesn't sound like any more are on the horizon. I can only hope that they'll make cross-over appearances in other novels, the same way Shey Darcy from She's Gone Country appeared in The Good Daughter.

Jane Porter never fails to impress me and I hope she'll continue to write compelling contemporary romance novels like she did with the Brennan Sisters trilogy and her previous books.

Until I read The Good Wife, I had trouble coming up with a movie cast. This time around, I think I figured it out.

Movie cast suggestions for an epic Brennan Sisters film:
Sarah: Sarah Chalke
Meg: Angie Harmon
Kit: Christina Hendricks
Bree: Leslie Mann
Cass: Jennifer Morrison
Boone (Sarah's husband): Jason Lewis
Jack (Meg's husband): Jon Hamm
Lauren: Maggie Lawson

Thanks to BookSparks PR for the book in exchange for an honest review. They're giving away a copy of The Good Wife with Jane Porter's interview. (US only.)

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