The Good Daughters
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The Good Daughters

3.7 193
by Joyce Maynard
     
 

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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

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

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Overview

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

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—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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
MyDailyFind.com
“Labor Day is both a coming-of-age story and a love story- a tale of profound loss, redemption and soul searching that is not to be missed.”
Gather.com
“Labor Day is a startling novel of love, friendship, trust, treachery, betrayal, and the deep lessons that we learn in life.... It’s a powerful, poignant mix in the hands of author Joyce Maynard and a novel no one should miss.”
Associated Press
“Maynard is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness.”
Newsday
Labor Day is suffused with tenderness, dreaminess and love . . . first and foremost a page-turner . . . [it] puts back together the world that it destroys . . . .you definitely need to get a box of tissues.”
Washington Post
“It is a testament to Maynard’s skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Beautifully written.”
USA Today
“Maynard offers fresh insight into what constitutes family.”
Detroit News
“Unique and chilling.”
Booklist
“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.”
Newark Star Ledger
“Powerful.”
St. Petersburg Times
“The novel is an extended meditation on the nature of love, grief and loneliness.... Maynard has created an ensemble of characters that will sneak into your heart, and warm it while it breaks. ”
BookPage
“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.”
Hartford Courant
“A haunting and hopeful story.”
Arizona Republic
“Surprisingly moving.”
Salt Lake City Tribune
“Maynard gets inside the head of an adolescent boy who is grappling with his own identity and the mysteries of sex (while revealing the secrets of making perfect pie crust). ”
Smart Money
“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.”
NPR.org
“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. ”
People (Four Stars)
“[The] story is moving and fast-moving, affirming Maynard’s reputation as a master storyteller and showing her to be a passionate humanist with a gifted ear and heart. . . . Maynard illuminates the human experience.”
Kirkus Reviews

Rural America cross-fertilizes with Bohemia in a story of tangled family ties.

Skillful tale-spinner Maynard (Labor Day, 2009, etc.) turns heavier-handed in her latest, the chronicle of Ruth Plank and Dana Dickerson, born two hours apart in the same hospital in New Hampshire in 1950, whose surnames spell out their families' characters and styles. The Planks, who have farmed their acres for generations, are as solid and dependable as a wooden floor. George and Val Dickerson, on the other hand, are drifters, forever drained and dislocated by George's get-rich-quick schemes. Dreamily creative Ruth can't understand why her mother seems to love her less than her sisters, nor can she quite comprehend the curious friendship between her kindly father and artistic Val Dickerson, whom Ruth also resembles physically. Dana, meanwhile, has always attracted Ruth's mother's attention and has an inexplicable flair for farming. Maynard's neat, credulity-stretching story hints often enough at the possible explanation for her twin cuckoos in the nests, although doesn't spell it out even when Ruth's attraction to Dana's brother Ray and subsequent pregnancy force her parents to intervene. Only as the members of the older generation die do the birthday sisters, whose checkered love lives have run their courses, finally embrace the truth.

Simple, sentimental and symmetrical, this is a limited narrative stretched out over novel length.

www.MyDailyFind.com
"Labor Day is both a coming-of-age story and a love story- a tale of profound loss, redemption and soul searching that is not to be missed."
www.Gather.com
"Labor Day is a startling novel of love, friendship, trust, treachery, betrayal, and the deep lessons that we learn in life.... It’s a powerful, poignant mix in the hands of author Joyce Maynard and a novel no one should miss."
Providence Journal
"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."
Entertainment Weekly on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“[Maynard] weav(es) a knotty tale of family secrets, told in the alternating voices of her likable main characters.”
Seattle Times on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“Maynard is a clever storyteller.”
People on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“Maynard’s spare prose packs a rich emotional punch...a can’t put-it-down mystery.”
Booklist on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“An evocative story . . . [Maynard] consistently brings emotional authenticity to the long arc of her characters’ lives and to the joy and loss they experience. A profoundly moving chronicle of the primacy of family connection.”
Associated Press Staff
"Maynard is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness."
AfterEllen.com on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“In addition to being a beautiful and engaging story, Maynard deftly captures Dana’s struggle to come to terms with her sexuality in the midst of her family’s instability. And her relationship with Clarice is one of the strongest in the novel. Highly recommended. ”
Minneapolis Star Tribune on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“Unexpected and heartbreaking…. Arguably [Maynard’s] best work yet.”
Buffalo News on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“An impressive writer...with a fine sense of time, of place, of humor.”
More Magazine on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“Absorbing.”
Tampa Tribune on THE GOOD DAUGHTERS
“Vividly rendered.”
People
“[The] story is moving and fast-moving, affirming Maynard’s reputation as a master storyteller and showing her to be a passionate humanist with a gifted ear and heart. . . . Maynard illuminates the human experience.”
Record Searchlight (Redding)
"Maynard...is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness."
Elizabeth Berg
"I am hard pressed to think of anything I’ve read that more honestly and eloquently expresses both the perils and the pleasures of love. Joyce Maynard has outdone herself in this beautifully written story you’ll find hard to put down, and impossible to forget."
Luanne Rice
" THE GOOD DAUGHTERS, weaves a story of choices and events so intimate I felt I was part of it. The novel is wrenching, the emotions radiant, and will leave readers transformed."
Jodi Picoult
"Joyce Maynard is in top-notch form with Labor Day. From the perfect pitch of a teenaged boy narrator to the eloquent message of how loneliness can bind people together, this is simply a novel you cannot miss."
Katha Pollitt
"Riveting and disturbing."
Wichita Falls
"Maynard spins a fascinating story of damaged people seeking the one thing they long for – love. "
Record Searchlight (Redding
“Maynard...is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness.”
(Four Stars) - People Magazine
"[The] story is moving and fast-moving, affirming Maynard’s reputation as a master storyteller and showing her to be a passionate humanist with a gifted ear and heart. . . . Maynard illuminates the human experience."
Record Searchlight (Redding))
"Maynard...is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061994319
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/24/2010
Pages:
278
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

Wichita Falls
“Maynard spins a fascinating story of damaged people seeking the one thing they long forlove. ”
Jodi Picoult
“Joyce Maynard is in top-notch form with Labor Day. From the perfect pitch of a teenaged boy narrator to the eloquent message of how loneliness can bind people together, this is simply a novel you cannot miss.”
Luanne Rice
“ THE GOOD DAUGHTERS, weaves a story of choices and events so intimate I felt I was part of it. The novel is wrenching, the emotions radiant, and will leave readers transformed.”
Katha Pollitt
“Riveting and disturbing.”
Elizabeth Berg
“I am hard pressed to think of anything I’ve read that more honestly and eloquently expresses both the perils and the pleasures of love. Joyce Maynard has outdone herself in this beautifully written story you’ll find hard to put down, and impossible to forget.”

Meet 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 six novels, including To Die For and Labor Day, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into eleven languages. Her previous novel, Labor Day, is being adapted for film by Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman. The mother of five children, she makes her home in Mill Valley, California.

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