"One thing about a hurricane: it turns everything upside down. All you know for sure: the world will look different tomorrow."
So begins the story of two families, the Planks and the Dickersons, bound together by the birth of their daughters, the only two babies born on July 4th, 1950 in a small New Hampshire hospital. "Birth sisters" is how Connie Plank refers to her daughter Ruth and the other baby, Dana Dickerson; two girls with nothing in common, born into families as dissimilar as they could possibly be.
Joyce Maynard's ability to define her characters - their vulnerability, their dimensionality, their flaws their strengths, their resolve to do the best they can - grabs hold, completely captivating us. We follow the lives of both Dana and Ruth as chapters alternate between the two girls' voices, watching them grow from children into women....
Beyond the Book
Joyce Maynard always seems to incorporate fresh produce and cooking into her stories, with a special affinity for baking. A scene in The Good Daughters
includes freshly baked biscuits from scratch and ripened strawberries, while the preparation of a peach pie in Labor Day
provides one of the most poignant moments in the book.
Having taught the art of pie making to scores of people over the years, here are some of Maynard's tips for creating the perfect pie:
- Use a combination of lard (or Crisco) and butter in equal amounts.
- Use ice water - as little as you can get away with - the less water, the flakier the crust.
- Instead of cornstarch, use Minute Tapioca to soak up extra juices....