Monday, September 3, 2012

The Good Woman by Jane Porter

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 burned out and empty, 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. 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. (synopsis from www.janeporter.com)

Trade paperback, Berkley Trade, 368 pages
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.

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