The Good Woman

The Good Woman

by Jane Porter


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Is it possible to leave it all behind?

The firstborn of a large Irish-American family, Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being “the good woman” have taken a toll and though her winery career thrives, Meg feels burned out and empty, and more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner, Chad Hallahan. It’s here, alone together in an exotic city, far from “real” life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg.

Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she’s ever made, especially that of her marriage. For Meg, something’s got to give, and for once in her life she flees her responsibilities—but with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating. Now she must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425253007
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Series: A Brennan Sisters Novel Series , #1
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,204,276
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jane Porter is the award-winning author of She’s Gone Country, Easy on the Eyes, Flirting with Forty, and several other novels. There are more than five million copies of her books in print.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for the novels of Jane Porter

“Porter writes with genuine warmth and quiet grace about the everyday problems all women face.” –Chicago Tribune

“She understands the passion of grown-up love . . . smart, satisfying.”—Robyn Carr

“[Porter’s] musings on balancing work, life, and love ring true.”–Entertainment Weekly

“Jane Porter has written her way into this reader’s heart.” –Susan Wiggs

Reading Group Guide


Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being “the good woman” have taken a toll and Meg feels burnt out and empty, more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused by an unexpected confession of desire from her boss, Meg suddenly finds herself questioning every choice she's ever made. Fleeing her responsibilities—with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating—Meg must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.



Jane Porter is the award–winning author of She's Gone Country, Easy on the Eyes, Flirting with Forty, and several other novels. There are more than five million copies of her books in print. She lives in Southern California.


  • In the first chapter, Meg must decide whether or not she can leave her family for a few days to go on a business trip to London. How does Meg's identity as a mother and wife conflict with her career? Do you think she settled?
  • Kit, Sarah, and Meg are all in romantic relationships that make them unhappy, yet they can't leave. Is this a common, universal situation? What are some other universal feelings like the fear of loneliness and need for security focused on in the novel that everyone can relate to?
  • Which Brennan sister do you relate to most, and why? What makes all these women similar? What makes them different?
  • As a teenager, Meg was babysitting when she delegated responsibility to Brianna, who turned her back and almost let a little girl drown in the family pool. In what way did that incident affect Meg's relationships with her sisters? What about her relationship with her dad?
  • Meg's sisters call her the rock of the family, nicknaming her “Sister Mary Margaret.” What kind of pressure does this put her under, both in the present and as they were growing up? Does she come to embrace that identity by the novel's end?
  • Meg says, “If there's anything she'd learned growing up in a big family, it's that talking too much always led to trouble.” Describe the secrets the Brennans keep from each other, the secrets they gossip about amongst each other, and why.
  • Discuss the influence of religion and Catholicism in the story—including the role of guilt and shame as feelings often discussed in Meg's narrative.
  • Describe how the different beautiful and scenic settings—the Napa Valley vineyards, London, the beach house in Capitola—influence Meg's emotions and actions.
  • Meg doesn't see herself as the confident, beautiful woman that Chad says he sees. Was Meg's affair with Chad only physical? Is it possible he took advantage of her vulnerability, or do you believe Chad truly loved her?
  • Meg worked with Chad at the winery for years before starting the affair. In your mind, what was the turning point for her that started the affair? Does the author give us insight into this?
  • How is Meg's love for Jack different than her love for Chad? How do those feelings change over time in each relationship?
  • How did Meg's affair touch each person in her family—Jack, their kids, her sisters and parents?
  • Sarah and Boone's relationship has never fully recovered from Boone's affair. Meg says, “the seed of doubt had been planted. Sarah and Boone were together but Sarah was no longer secure.” Do you think Meg and Jack's relationship will ever truly be repaired? Can a marriage ever truly recover from adultery?
  • Do you sympathize more with Jack or with Meg?
  • Jack's side of the story isn't revealed until the last chapter, when he has an honest conversation with Meg about their reconciliation in the kitchen. Does his defense and his apology change your view of Meg's affair? Is only one person to blame, or do they share equal blame for the affair? Would you ever take back a cheating spouse?
  • In the beginning of the book, Meg's sisters describe her as the dependable, responsible, bossy sister and even Meg says she is uptight and no fun. By the end of the story, has she changed? What does the last scene at the fair with Tessa and Gabi imply?
  • Meg believed that “good women were supposed to be strong and selfless.” What do you think makes a person “good”? Despite the affair, is Meg a good person? A good wife? A good mom, daughter, and sister?
  • Customer Reviews

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    The Good Woman 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
    kimberlyindy More than 1 year ago
    WOW! That was my reaction when I finished “The Good Woman.” It is an exceptional book from accomplished author Jane Porter. Porter has the ability to take you on an emotional life journey with her characters. Meg, “The Good Woman” is going through true life problems and I think that all women can relate to her whether or not you are single or married. Meg is very “real” as are the other Brennan family members introduced to us in this book. This is the first book in a very long time that not only captured my attention, but made me want to read it straight through and when I wasn’t able to do that, I found my mind wandering to the book and its characters. I wanted to know what they were going to do next or if I was in their situation how would I handle it. I know that I will love the next 2 books in this series, because I already feel like I know the main characters, and thanks to Jane Porter, I feel like I am part of the Brennan clan. “The Good Woman” isn’t just a worthy read, it is a MUST read! This book would make an excellent book for book groups! I am still thinking about the characters and can't wait to discuss it with my group!
    SharonRedfern More than 1 year ago
    On the surface, Meg Roberts has it all. She has a loving husband, three children and a job she loves doing PR for an area winery. But Meg is feeling as though she is missing something, that her life lacks some essential thing that she can’t put her finger on. She and her husband Jack have been married for seventeen years but she feels as though they are losing the connection between them. Meg discovers that her charismatic boss Chad has been harboring feelings for her and drifts into an affair which causes the disintegration of her life as she knows it. Meg is an interesting character. She has always been the good girl, the good wife, the good mother and she has a strong sense of loyalty and a need for structure. This story looks at how someone who has been so tightly controlled all of her life finds herself doing something that she knows is wrong and also knows could ruin her life. The book does not make excuses for her behavior or paint her husband in a terrible light. Yes, he is sometimes distracted and may be a little selfish in the marital bed, but does that excuse adultery? Meg’s family is an old school Irish Catholic one that is having issues of its own. Her sister Kit is getting over the breakup of her long term relationship. Her sister Sarah is married to a professional athlete who cheated on her in the past. Needless to say, Sarah is not sympathetic to Meg’s situation. Meg’s parents are supportive but unhappy with what she has done and they are dealing with their own problems as well. The story weaves all of their lives into Megs and gives the reader a variety of viewpoints of Meg’s situation. When I started the book, I was concerned about the theme because I wasn’t sure I could relate to a character that cheats. However, the way the topic was handled in this book made it relatable and not uncomfortable. The resolution of the situation is handled realistically and appropriately. Ms. Porter did not take the easy way out for the character. This is the first book in the series about the Brennan family. Based on the characters from this book it looks like they will all be pretty interesting. The next book is due out in February, 2013.
    Mengel2 More than 1 year ago
    As with all of Jane Porter's books, this one is exceptional. The characters and story are amazing and you find yourself feeling like you're part of their family. If the story line of the first in the trilogy is of this caliber, I can't wait to see how the other two books in the series will be! I would recommend not only buying and reading this book, but all of Jane's books. They are great reads and NEVER disappoint.
    AMBradley More than 1 year ago
    Could. Not. Put. This. Down. I read this in one sitting. In this first book about the Brennan sisters, Jane Porter delves deep into what it is like to be a modern woman, a mother, a wife, a sister, and explores what happens when you examine your past choices and perhaps make some unwise new ones. As the oldest sister Meg slowly comes undone from the pressure of creating and keeping the perfect life, we see the impact her choices have on not only her marriage and her kids, but the dynamic between her sisters and her parents. I'm a huge fan of Jane Porter's books and have read all of her non-category novels, plus some of the category ones. I especially love how she explores issues and characters from different perspectives and shows the complexities of human life. Things are not black and white in a Porter book, they are multiple shades of gray and often explode into technicolor kaleidoscopic messiness, just like real life. In THE GOOD WOMAN, Porter does all of the above exceptionally well by showing events from multiple points of view. True family dynamic comes to life as the sisters and their parents recollect and judge past and present events. The author shows how the stories we tell ourselves are only that, our stories. Our parents and siblings who were at every event in our lives, have a completely different interpretation of those events and therefor completely different emotional scars. The same is true for our spouses. This sounds very dire, but remember it's a Jane Porter book so you are going to cry as you relate to the emotional upheaval of the Brennan family, but you are also going to do a lot of laughing as you recognize yourself and your family and your relationship with significant others in this fabulous book.
    KimTaylor More than 1 year ago
    I could not put Jane Porter's new book, The Good Woman, down. She takes you into Meg Roberts world and her family life. You become friends with Meg and her family. Felt like I was along for the Brennan Girls Weekend in Capitola! The emotion that Ms. Porter puts into her books jumps off page after page. What Meg goes through in her daily life and how she struggles with the choices she makes, the book was just fabulous! You will not be disappointed with this book. The only thing I was sad about is that I have to wait until February 2013 for the NEXT book! Thank you, Jane, for writing about real issues that women struggle with every day....... Is the grass truly greener on the other side?
    CatmomJD More than 1 year ago
    Growing up as a good girl doing everything right, Meg is brought to a cross road in her life between doing what's right and doing what feels right for her happiness. She chooses what feels right to herself and then lives to regret the actions she has made. Many women have thoughts or have given in to those thoughts of another man. But, how would you react if you were in Meg's shoes? This book was written beautifully and makes you feels like you are right there with her and part of her family. I wasn't ready for it to end yet. I can't wait for the next book to come out. I'll be counting down the days. I have been a Jane Porter fan for many years and this book is right up there with the rest of her books, a wonderful entertaining read.
    AGSmithAS More than 1 year ago
    The Good Woman by Jane Porter is a wonderful book, I consumed it in two days. It was raw and honest. Porter created a character that’s so real…flawed, yet likeable…that I felt like I was watching the life of good friend unravel. And unravel, it did. Mary Margaret Brennan Roberts, Meg, is the focus of this book, the first in a new trilogy about the Brennan sisters. Meg is the eldest child of a large Irish Catholic family, who’s always taken care of everyone and continues to now, as a wife and mother with a full time job. She was a “good girl” who grew up to be a “good woman”. Her life and her expectations for everyone percolate with responsibility, always doing as she’s expected…until she doesn’t. Then things get complicated. Meg’s story is compelling, full of real life complications, many of which lead to heartbreak, yet Meg is a fighter and she eventually gains the strength to fight for what she wants. The story is heavy – lots of tears, both for Meg and for me, as a reader. But even when she wasn’t “the good woman”, I routed for her. I really loved the book. I know it’s going to stay with me for a long, long time. The ending most definitely left me wanting more. Meg’s book may be done, but her story certainly isn’t over.
    MBFF More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book!!!!!  I could totally relate to all the characters in the book.  It was a page turner~I could not put it down!!  I've already ordered the next book in the series and it should arrive today!!!  Can't wait!!
    ElisabethWA More than 1 year ago
    A good book about honest to real women dealing with tough and everyday situations. Jane Porter´s "The Good Woman" is a good modern lit novel but somewhat different from her other books. If you know Jane Porter´s other novels and expect "The Good Woman" to be exactly the same you might be a little disappointed. But that said. It´s a really good modern lit novel and Jane is really evolving in her writing style and is a fabulous writer. I love reading all her books and have almost read every book she has written. I loved Jane´s "She´s Gone Country" and still think this is her very best book to date. But I´ll take that up to review when I have read all tree books in The Brennan Sisters trilogy. I have already pre-ordered the next book "The Good Daughter" and can´t wait for it to be released on February 5th 2013.
    Life_Long_Reader More than 1 year ago
    I have been waiting for this book for a long time! The Good Woman certainly lived up to my expectations with a touching and loving story of a Meg trying to live up to her high standards when life is full of the unexpected. She fought for her marriage and life. I highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great read
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    krazymama_98 More than 1 year ago
    I usually like reading stories with big families. There is always drama, fun, love.... And there is that in The Good Woman. Unfortunately, it felt like a lot more drama, sadness, disappointment than anything else. At least its going to end really great, right? I mean, they are going to get thru all the crap to the happy ending. Not so much. They ended pretty much exactly as they started. I do not do spoilers. But if you are looking for a fight for your marriage story, this is not it.
    RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
    Reviewed by Shannon Book provided by Edelweiss for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Mary Margaret (Meg) Brennan Roberts is the oldest of the Brennan siblings. Being the oldest in this large, close knit Irish-American family, often meant Meg was the one in charge of her siblings and made sure everything was “right”. That trait, of making everything right, stays with Meg into adulthood and into the family she has with her husband, Jack. But while her family might appear “right” on the outside, Meg begins to question her relationship with Jack and just how “right” their life is. Meg isn’t a very happy woman in The Good Woman. While she may wear many hats and wear them well, deep down Meg finds herself unhappy with how her relationship is with Jack and desperately needs to feel some kind of tactile validation from him that he still loves and wants her like he did when they were first together. Those needs and doubts lead Meg down a path where she gives makes choices that threaten to destroy everything she hold dear. While you may not agree with Meg’s choices throughout the book, Jane Porter does an excellent job of creating a character who could be any one of us making a bad choice. Meg is that big sister that you placed on a pedestal and then were devastated to find out wasn’t as perfect as you thought she was. But she is so agonized and destroyed over every choice and decision she’s made, I found myself forgiving her and sympathizing as she struggles to come to grips with everything and wanting her to fight to get back what she almost lost. Jane Porter is a “must buy” author for me. Her women’s fiction novels have a knack for “speaking” to the reader and forming a connection that I don’t find in many other books. The Good Woman is no exception. The Brennan family is one that I look forward to visiting with more as the series unfolds.
    Mirabelle8 More than 1 year ago
    I was very fortunate to have won Jane Porter’s complete Brennan Sisters Trilogy! I not a huge fan of contemporary but I wanted to read these books because it concerned women and their daily lives. I really enjoyed The Good Woman, first one in her series, because this story is close to the reality of what could happen if someone felt such a void in her life, regardless of social status. It’s the story of Meg, a married woman with three kids, her husband Jack and her family. Being in her early 40’s, she is trying to be a super mom, a super wife, always trying to please everyone, until she realizes that something was missing in her life. You have to read this story if you want to understand why she had made a choice and then had to live the consequences. Ms. Porter nicely blended believable and complex characters into this well written novel. I strongly recommend her book! Looking forward to read the second book The Good Daughter.
    C-c-a More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed this book! I look forward to reading the next two books.
    Jo23 More than 1 year ago
    This is the first book I have read from Jane Porter and I must say that I was quite impressed. This book is a must read for any woman going through the forty something life changes. this book mirrored my life as it is right now, minus the affair. The characters felt real and relatable. This is an exceptional piece of work by Jane Porter. I have already read the second book and I’m looking forward to many more of her outstanding writing.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    CC_Graziano More than 1 year ago
    A review copy was provided for an honest review. The Good Woman is heart-gripping, real, and moving on so many different levels. It sheds light on the real-life struggles women face and it's extremely relatable. The story is engaging, fun, emotional, and written wonderfully. Jane Porter has the gift of connecting with readers on a very personal level and making them feel for the characters deeply. I will admit to putting the book down a few times just so I could take in and fully appreciate everything I was reading. It pulls you in like a tide—put plain and simple—it's addicting. I was unsure in the beginning how I would be able to connect with the topic of marital infidelity but how the whole issue is handled it shows you another side to the situation. It doesn't condone such behavior, or even take it lightly but merely portrays the realistic scenario as it is and that I found really nice for a change. I could easily relate with Meg and her internal struggles, also having family members with high expectations. Nobody is perfect and that's what this book explores. The story centers on Meg Brennan Roberts who is the eldest daughter of a big Irish-American family. Meg's life upon outside inspection seems perfect—having a supportive husband, three bright children, and a well-paying job as a wine publicist—it's a great illusion. Her sisters have always looked up to her for being so well put together but underneath Meg's skillfully constructed facade she's falling to pieces. Mary Margaret—as her sisters like to call her—is methodical, over-worked, and has a complicated relationship with her family members. But now she faces the new addition of a stale marriage that no longer seems like enough—Meg comes to the realization that she needs more. Always playing the role as the good woman has finally taken its toll and she's ready for something to change. This is a self-discovering journey of a woman who has always done everything by the book until she shakes things up and starts living for herself instead of others. It's inspiring; it'll make you laugh, come close to tears, and make you frustrated all at once. The Good Woman evokes soo many emotions good and bad—you'll find it difficult to put it down! Porter weaves her words into your heart. The Good Woman is a fantastic read, with down-to-earth characters, terrific writing, realistic situations, and family drama that will keep you continuously intrigued. Fans of Women's Fiction and Chick-Lit will really enjoy it!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was a hard book to put down. So make sure you have time to read this all the way in one day. Looking forward to book 2 & 3.
    KerryACroucier More than 1 year ago
    THE GOOD WOMAN by Jane Porter was, simply put, a fantastic read. I could not put it down. The first in the Brennan Sisters series focuses on Meg, the oldest in a large, Catholic, Irish-American family. Meg, or Mary Margaret Brennan Roberts, has always been the responsible one. She has 3 younger sisters and a younger brother that she was always in charge of and is a perfectionist. Now, she is 42, married with three children and a great job. She is the epitome of a successful woman, but she feels like something is missing, that there has to be more to life than this. In trying to find it, she commits an uncharacteristically selfish act that has massive repercussions. But, that is not all of the book. The book also focuses on family and their dynamics, especially those between the four sisters, and her parents. I have recently been introduced to Porter's books and can't believe I missed out for so long. Porter writes about real people and real emotions. I laughed and cried, and I felt Meg's conflicts. Porter's characters are very relate-able. She writes about life. The good and the messy parts of it. Even though I don't agree with her actions, I can see how she ended up following the path she did. Meg or any of her sisters could be friends of mine. I can't wait to to read then next books in the series, not only to find out what happens with the other sisters (THE GOOD DAUGHTER -- Kit's Story, and THE GOOD WIFE -- Sarah's story). I look forward to seeing to seeing how each character grows and immersing myself in the dynamics of, not only the sisters, but the entire family.
    jboehmke More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book so much. It did a wonderful job of sucking me into the story and getting me emotionally attached to the characters right away. Meg's daily struggles are things most of us can relate to on some level. Juggling work, family, home and all of the stresses that come with it. It was very easy to imagine myself in her shoes and wonder if I would have made the same decisions she did. I highly recommend this book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    First couple of chapters had me hooked!I felt like i got to know each of the characters well, and could really relate to how they felt. By the middle of the book i couldn't put it down I had to know what happened.A great read for any woman especially one that has been married for awhile!
    StephanieLynn78 More than 1 year ago
    Meg Brennan Roberts is the oldest daughter in a Catholic raised family. She’s always the “good sister” doing everything right. Married for seventeen years and the mother of 3, Meg feels something is missing. She’s increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied with the path her life has taken. This midlife crisis or what not has her questioning her life, her career and her marriage and what she really wants out of life. The first word that comes to mind if someone were to ask me about The Good Woman would be WOW! This book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions from happy to sad to wanting to throw the book across the room in denial and finally into happiness and hope for the future. I was a little apprehensive about reading The Good Woman because of some of the subject matter, but once I started, I was hooked. I could not put it down. Jane Porter did a great job with the story and working with the intricacies of not only being the older, more responsible sister who holds herself to a higher standard than everyone else, but also of a woman who’s not quite sure how her life ended up where it did and what to do about the feelings of loneliness and increasing unhappiness. I really enjoyed getting to know the Brennan family and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in The Brennan Sisters trilogy!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The Good Woman by Jane Porter is a great read. Once I got into the story I didn't want to put it down... very real issues in today's world. I would like to have had more of how their lives changed when the book ended. Excited to read the next in the series!