Authors: Jane Porter
Tags: #Fiction, #Contemporary Women
Praise for the novels of Jane Porter
She’s Gone Country
“I’ve always been a big fan of Jane Porter’s. She understands the passion of grown-up love and the dark humor of mothering teenagers. What a smart, satisfying novel
She’s Gone Country
New York Times
bestselling author of the Virgin River novels
“A celebration of a woman’s indomitable spirit. Suddenly single, juggling motherhood and a journey home, Shey embodies every woman’s hopes and dreams. Once again, Jane Porter has written her way into this reader’s heart.”
New York Times
“Strongly plotted, with a heroine who is vulnerable yet resilient…engaging.”
—The Seattle Times
Easy on the Eyes
“An irresistible mix of glamour and genuine heart…
Easy on the Eyes
—Beth Kendrick, author of
“A smart, sophisticated, fun read with characters you’ll fall in love with. Another winning novel by Jane Porter.”
—Mia King, national bestselling author of
“With great warmth and wisdom, in
Jane Porter creates a richly emotional story about a realistically flawed and wonderfully human hero who only discovers what is important in life when she learns to let go of her quest for perfection.”
“Porter’s authentic character studies and meditations on what really matters make
a perfect summer novel.”
“The witty first-person narration keeps things lively in Porter’s latest. Taylor’s neurotic fussiness provides both vicarious thrills and laughs before Taylor moves on to self-awareness and a new kind of empowerment…a feel-good read.”
Flirting with Forty
Basis for the Lifetime Original Movie
“A terrific read! A wonderful, life- and love-affirming story for women of all ages.”
—Jayne Ann Krentz,
New York Times
“Fits the bill as a calorie-free accompaniment for a poolside daiquiri.”
Odd Mom Out
“Jane Porter must know firsthand how it feels to not fit in. She nails it poignantly and perfectly in
Odd Mom Out
. This mommy-lit title is far from fluff…Sensitive characters and a protagonist who doesn’t cave to the in-crowd gives this novel its heft.”
“[Porter’s] musings on balancing work, life, and love ring true.”
“The draining pace of Marta’s life comes across convincingly, and Porter’s got a knack for getting into the heads of the preteen set; Eva’s worries are right on the mark. A poignant critique of mommy cliques and the plight of single parents.”
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
THE GOOD DAUGHTER
Copyright © 2013 by Jane Porter.
The Good Wife
copyright © 2013 by Jane Porter.
Cover design by Rita Frangie.
Cover photo by Allan Jenkins / Trevillion Images.
Book design by Laura K. Corless.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
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Berkley trade paperback edition / February 2013
An application to register this book for cataloging has been submitted to the Library of Congress.
For my father, Tom Porter
I was fifteen when I lost you,
but you’d already given me the gift of words
the ability to dream
and the hunger to tell my stories.
Thank you to everyone at Penguin, with special thanks to my editor, the brilliant Cindy Hwang. I am so very grateful for the support.
And thank you to my family, my friends, and my readers, who have also become my family and friends. I would not be here, published and dreaming of new stories, if it weren’t for you.
ake a wish.
And just like that, wishes sprang to mind. One, two, three.
But it wasn’t Kit Brennan who was supposed to be making wishes. It was Cass’s night. The Brennan family had gathered to celebrate Cass’s thirty-sixth birthday at Kit’s childhood home in San Francisco’s inner Sunset district.
There were ten at the table in the Edwardian-period dining room, with its high ceiling and elaborate wainscoting, the lights still out, the last of the happy birthday song dying away. Kit. Her parents. Her sister Meg and her family. Her brother, Tommy, and his wife, Cass, whose birthday they were celebrating.
“Make a wish, Cass,” Mom said from her seat at the head of the table. She’d become painfully thin in the last month but looked happy tonight.
“Make a wish, Aunt Cass,” Meg’s eleven-year-old daughter,
Gabi, echoed, crowding in close to Cass, unable to contain herself, the flickering candlelight reflected in her shining brown eyes.
“Make a wish, babe,” Tommy Jr. said, patting his wife’s back. “Before your cake catches fire.”
Cass Brennan crinkled her nose and tucked a long blond curl behind her ear. She’d married into this family eleven years ago and they’d immediately made her one of them. “Not too worried,” she said lightly, even with her candles ablaze. “I’ve got two of the city’s finest firefighters here.”
Dad lifted his hands. “I’ve retired, hon, and we don’t know how good Tommy is. Better make a wish and blow out those candles.”
“Come on, Aunt Cass,” Gabi shouted, trying to be heard above the good-natured laughter. “Wish for a baby. Wish hard!”
The laughter immediately died.
Tommy’s shoulders squared aggressively. “We don’t need a baby.”
“Yes, you do, Uncle Tommy,” Gabi argued. “You’ve been wanting a baby for a long time!”
“Time to wish for something else. Like a vacation. Or winning the lottery.”
Cass flinched, as if struck. Tears slowly filled her eyes.
All pretense of happiness was gone. Kit could feel Cass’s grief, was sure everyone else felt it, too. The endless sorrow hung in the air, heavy, aching, a tragic specter weighting the room.
Tommy reacted first, his strong jaw—Dad’s jaw—tightening, his blue eyes snapping. He didn’t do this. Didn’t break, grieve, mourn. Not in public. Not even in front of his family. He clapped his hand impatiently on Cass’s slender back, between her shoulder blades. “Come on, babe. Blow out the candles.”
The edge in his voice brought Cass to life. She gulped a breath,
leaned toward the tall coconut cake with the fluffy icing, staring at what was left of the candles, formulating the wish before blowing out the flames in a broken rush of air.
Everyone clapped and the kids cheered. Meg rose and rushed to get the knife and delicate porcelain dessert plates. Meg’s husband, Jack, asked if anyone wanted coffee or tea. Mom wanted tea and Jack headed to the kitchen to make it, and all the while Dad was talking loudly, carrying the small stack of presents from the sideboard to the table, making a big deal about which present Cass would open first. Everyone was talking, busy doing something, but Tommy.
Tommy sat stiff and silent and grim in his chair at the corner of the table. Kit refilled water glasses but kept an eye on her brother. She knew Tommy well, could tell from his expression that he was angry, resenting Cass, maybe everyone, for making him into the bad guy. Because that’s what he was thinking, feeling, that they’d all turned him into the villain in the story, and he wasn’t the villain. He was just being honest. Practical. After six years of trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, Tommy was done. He didn’t need a baby. He wanted peace. He needed to stay sane.
As Cass cut the cake and Meg assisted by passing the plates around, Kit wondered what Cass had wished for. Was it a baby? Or was it for Tommy to want a baby again? Because their marriage was suffering. Both of them were suffering. Kit wasn’t even sure a baby would solve everything anymore.
She suddenly ached with wishes of her own…
For Mom’s cancer to go into remission.
For Cass to have her baby.
For Tommy to be happy with Cass again…
Later, after cake and presents, Meg’s three kids were excused to watch television in the living room, while Jack and Dad headed outside with Tommy to look at Tommy’s new car, which was
really an old car, a 1960 Cadillac he bought on Craigslist for next to nothing and was determined to restore himself.
“Just us now,” Meg said, sitting back in her chair with a soft, appreciative sigh. “The girls.”
Kit was glad, too. She was tight with her sisters, and they were all close with Mom, so close that for the past ten years they had all taken an annual girls-only trip together, calling it the Brennan Girls’ Getaway, spending a long weekend or week at the family beach house in Capitola.
On their getaway they’d eat and drink, talk, read, sleep. It was a time to let their hair down, a time to celebrate family, and hopefully a time to feel safe, although the last couple of getaways had been tense because of friction between Brianna, Kit’s fraternal twin, and Meg. Cass had missed the last getaway, too, back in May, as she’d been in the middle of an IVF cycle and her doctor wouldn’t let her travel so close to the egg retrieval.