Joyce Maynard is the author of nine previous novels and five books of nonfiction, as well as the syndicated column, "Domestic Affairs." Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into sixteen languages. Her novels To Die For and Labor Day were both adapted for film. Maynard currently makes her home in New Haven, Connecticut.
While Maynard's last novel, Labor Day, was delightful and unexpected, the premise of her new title is obvious from the start. Two girls, conceived during a hurricane in rural New Hampshire, born in the same hospital on the same day, grow up not understanding what binds their diametrically opposite families together. The Planks are fourth-generation New England farmers, practical and rooted. The Dickersons drift from one get-rich-quick scheme to another. Ruth Plank, though she adores her hardworking, dependable father, does not fit in-she's artistic and emotional, tall and lithe, while her four sisters are stolid and stocky. Dana Dickerson finds little in common with her nontraditional parents and instead relates more to the goats she raises and the strawberries she plants. Verdict While the connection between the "birthday sisters" ultimately comes as no surprise, Maynard's descriptions of the two women's lives from the 1950s to the present is rich and realistic. Particularly touching is Dana's relationship with her dying lover. Buy for readers who enjoy character development over plot.-Christine Perkins, Bellingham P.L., WA Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"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
"A sometimes painful tale, but captivating and surprisingly moving."--Publishers Weekly
"It is a testament to Maynard's skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale."--Washington Post
"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."--BookPage
"Maynard expertly tugs heartstrings in a tidy tale. "--Kirkus Reviews
"Maynard offers fresh insight into what constitutes family."--USA Today
"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."--Booklist
"Rich and realistic . . . touching."--Library Journal
"Maynard is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness."--Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
" 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."--Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners
"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."--Newsday
"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."--Elizabeth Berg, author of The Last Time I Saw You
"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."--Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of My Sister's Keeper and Handle With Care
"Riveting and disturbing."--Katha Pollitt, New York Times Book Review on At Home in the World