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.