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The Good Daughters    by Joyce Maynard order for
Good Daughters
by Joyce Maynard
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

In October of 1949 a hurricane ripped through New Hampshire leaving a wake of destruction. Nine months later on July 4, 1950, two girls were born, to two families. As they were neighbours, the girls were often called 'the birthday sisters.'

Ruth Plank, born to Edwin and Connie, was raised on the family farm that had been passed down from one generation to the next. A hard working family, they enjoyed a simple life style. Ruth however, had no interest in learning the family business, as she longed to be an artist. The youngest of five daughters, she never felt close to her mother or sisters, but adored the gentle father who nicknamed her beanpole.

Dana Dickerson, born to George and Valerie, had her feet planted firmly on the ground. Her father was a dreamer, always chasing a get rich scheme, while her elusive mother dabbled in art. Dana looked up to her older, handsome brother Ray. The family moved constantly, but always had annual visits with the Plank family. Dana took an interest in vegetables and planting, and enjoyed the help she received from Mr. Plank. Her dream was to eventually have her own farm.

The story spans fifty years and is told in the alternating voices of Ruth and Dana. Two women, each feeling misplaced in life. Ruth always had a crush on Ray, but he is a loner and drifter like his father. When Ruth and her sister venture off the farm to go to Woodstock she meets up with Ray and soon finds herself following him to British Columbia, Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft. They have a passionate affair until Ruth's mother tears them apart.

Dana, now a scientist becomes involved with Clarice, an art history professor. They live on a small farm in Maine, raising goats, selling the cheese they produce, and growing vegetables. Dana is happy until Clarice suddenly takes sick.

Ruth and Dana's lives intersect over the next fifty years as they find love and marriage, endure the death of a partner, and lose their parents. Their voices tell us their innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires. Forgotten memories are revealed, and dark secrets are spoken, and we learn the connection between the two women.

The Good Daughters is a beautiful story you will not forget. It is about love, family, and being true to yourself.

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