Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard

I'm normally pretty into the whole family secrets type book, so this is one that I immediately marked on my TBR list on Goodreads.  It's about two girls who are born on the same day at the same hospital in the 1960's.  The girls have very little in common, but their lives are connected as they grow up and into adulthood through various family ties and one big family secret.  Unfortunately, this one really didn't work for me.

Nothing spectacular.  No issues with sentence structure, grammr, typos, etc, but the plot itself just wasn't that interesting.  Throughout the book I had an idea of where the build up to the big secret was headed, but I kept telling myself no.  The ending I saw coming was way too cliche, too improbable, too predictable, etc.  And yet, that was the ending the author chose.  So I felt like the build up through the entire book to the revelation of this secret was not all that successful. 

Entertainment Value
Also disappointing.  The secret that is used to draw us into the book is a little bit deceptive - the book is very much character driven as opposed to plot driven.  This can work very well, especially in women's literature, but only if the reader cares about the characters.  Unfortunately, I didn't really care about anyone in this book.  So reading lots of small stories about the two main characters growing up and coming of age really wasn't all that interesting because I didn't especially like either of them.  In a weird, oxymoronical way it made for a slow fast read.  Fast read because it wasn't challenging intellectually so I read it in just a few hours.  Slow because while I was reading I was bored.  Those few hours felt like days.

Overall, disappointing.  I hate to say so because it was sent to me by Trish from TLC and I LOVE Trish and TLC Tours, but this one just wasn't for me.  If you're looking for a good family secret/ women's lit novel, I recommend The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (for a more gothic take) and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (for a lighter take).


  1. It's too bad about this one. I love Joyce Maynard, so I still may give it a shot, but definitely not without reservation.

  2. Bummer! I saw Joyce Maynard last year at my local book festival, and the way she talked about this book was fascinating!

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  3. So sorry you didn't enjoy this one! Personally I felt the complete opposite of you, LOL! I thought the characters were written so well and I was captivated by this story. Also, I guess this shows how oblivious I can be, I totally didn't see the ending coming! Oh well, different strokes for different folks, right?

  4. It actually seems like I may be the minority opinion on this one - the other TLC reviewers have all seemed to like it a lot, so don't count it out just because it wasn't for me!

  5. Can I just say that as an author, even though this isn't my work, I realllyyyyyy appreciate the way you ended this review:

    However, many other reviewers on the tour enjoyed this one, so I recommend checking out their reviews as well if you're considering reading the book to get a balanced take on it.

  6. Shellie, it's so hard as a blogger to write that I didn't enjoy a book when I know so many other bloggers I trust did enjoy it. It's important to me that my readers realize that I'm only expressing MY OPINION. Other opinions are equally valid. And in a case like this where many bloggers gave glowing reviews, it's especially important to let my readers know that others enjoyed the book and to point them to those reviews as well. My disliking a book is only a 100% guarantee that you will dislike the book if you are some kind of consciousness stealing clone.