The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton

From the Hardcover editionThe Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton
Published by Bellantine Books, an imprint of Random House
Review copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours

Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger have been an extremely tight foursome since law school. The four have supported each other through the many ups and downs of their lives, and now Betts is just days away from being appointed to the Supreme Court. But during the Senate hearings, a question is asked that drags up long-buried secrets in the ladies’ pasts, and so they flee to Ginger’s family’s summer home in the Chesapeake Bay to try to get a handle on things. During their trip, they rehash old memories, support one another through this current hurdle, and together figure out the truth about a huge part of their pasts.

Meg Waite Clayton has an amazing ability to write complex, interesting characters that truly feel like real people. Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger were flawed in many ways, but their flaws served to make them more human, easy for the reader to relate to. The book is told in alternating perspectives from each woman in first-person point of view, and while I have to admit it took me a while to figure out who was who and sort out their backgrounds, once I did that it became a joy to get to know each of these four women. They are four unique, individual women with very different personalities and Clayton definitely wrote them as such.

Not only were these four women easy to relate to, likable, and interesting, but they were also strong, independent, intelligent women (and these characteristics, many of you know, I love to see in fictional women). I cannot tell you how much I love a book with intelligent writing and smart characters, and The Four Ms. Bradwells has both of those things. It was such a delight for me to watch these women interact with each other, as their educational backgrounds and high levels of intelligence really shined through their conversations. I’m loving this trend of books written about smart women (The Weird Sisters, I’m looking at you too) and I really hope it continues.

I enjoyed the fact that there was a mystery within this novel, and I think the mystery was done very well. Not because it was a mystery to solve, exactly, but because it was so intertwined with the rest of the story that it just felt natural. I was left guessing throughout the entire book, and when the truth finally did surface (in all its ambiguity) I have to admit that I did not expect that particular end of the matter. This is me saying, without any spoilers, that I loved the ending. 🙂

The Four Ms. Bradwells is really  a fantastic piece of women’s fiction with incredibly smart characters, excellent writing, and a plot that really moves along well. The book is about four female friends, yes, but there are much deeper things going on here that are not evident at the beginning of the novel. I really loved the book and I highly recommend it.

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17 thoughts on “The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton

  1. This book has been on my TBR list for a while. I have to admit it was the cover that caught my attention first, but it looks like an absolutely lovely read! Great review.

  2. Can’t wait to read this one! I’ve heard so many great things. It’s good to know that the characters are strong, smart women. When I first saw the cover, I was afraid that the book was about the “typical” wealthy and shallow women that are so commonly found in modern fiction today. Excellent review…I’m definitely adding this one to my list!

    1. I was concerned about that too, although I remembered how much I ejoyed “The Wednesday Sisters” also by Ms. Clayton – also about a group of smart women. So I’m glad that this book delivered that as well.

  3. I’m not generally a mystery fan but I do like it when a mystery is just a natural part of the story, and it sounds like that is the case here. And to have such intelligent and relatable characters is definitely a bonus.

    Thanks for being on the tour – I’m glad this book was such a great fit for you!

  4. Based on your review I need to give this author another chance. I really didn’t care for her last story which coincidentally enough was also about 4 women. I’m always game for second chances! 😀 Great review!

    1. Aww, I’m sad to hear you didn’t enjoy The Wednesday Sisters. I do hope you can give this author another chance! While I personally did enjoy TWS, I think this book has a bit more depth. So give it a try!

  5. I’m currently reading Meg’s novel, “The Wednesday Sisters”, and haven’t really gotten into it. Have you read this one by her? Do you think I should continue? So far, I’m lacking interest because she writes the main character in the present, talking about the past, but then constantly saying things like, “but that hadn’t yet happened,” or, “she did this much later.” It’s just hard to not be confused while reading it. I’m only on chapter five. But I wanted to review it for our blog. What do you recommend?

    -Sarah

    1. I don’t recall the book being confusing but it was several years ago when I read it so my memory is failing me. I definitely enjoyed it, but if you are not liking the book you shouldn’t worry too much about finishing it. Personally, I give every book I read a solid 50 pages and if I’m not enjoying it, I put it down for something else. I liked it but not all books are right for all people!

  6. I’m really impressed with the reviews I’m reading about this one. I’m looking forward to reading it soon. I thought I was getting something fairly light but it sounds like I’m getting something much more and that’s exciting.

  7. My wife really liked this book and the mystery within the novel,as you point out, which kept her reading until the end. Meg Waite clayton, by all accounts, seems to be an engaging author who deserved to win the Bellwether Prize. Thank you for your interesting post.

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