Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than twenty years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring—the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.
Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company—Good Company—afloat. A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies? What happened that summer all those years ago? And what happens now?
With Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s signature tenderness, humor, and insight, Good Company tells a bighearted story of the lifelong relationships that both wound and heal us.
Los Angeles , the city that conjured up glamour, famous actors, the film industry, the one we see on the television or read about in the papers, but is it truly as glamorous as it’s made out to be?
Sweeney evidently did her homework and dug deep into the LA underworld where insecurity, anxiety as to where the next job would come from were far more prevalent than we might think. She then took two couples, their friendship, their marriages and seamlessly wove it into a compelling examination of what loyalty, secrets and lies can do to upset and even destroy what they so carefully built.
The leading character was Flora, definitely the most interesting and I would say the one I felt most empathy towards. There was a fragility to begin with as she celebrated what she thought was a good marriage, a career that was finally bearing fruit and a daughter successfully thought high school and on her way to college. The fragility, the constant acquiescence to friend Margot, to being a supportive wife, knowing it made life more comfortable, easy. Sweeney wasn’t here to give us comfortable and easy, she wanted to shake things up, sow seeds of doubt, make Flora question the status quo. The discovery of husband, Julian’s lost wedding ring was the catalyst, that symbol of security turned on its head, to stop Flora in her tracks and assess just what the future might be.
Would it include Julian, did she still love him, did she still want to be married and what of her friendship with Margot? Margot, beautiful, star of a long running hospital series, wealthy and childless, happy to throw her money around to support, Flora, Julian and daughter Ruby. But was it a way to keep them close, to retain a hold over them, to ensure they stayed in her life to be there when her own emotional and work life became tough?
And what of Julian where did he fit in all this. Sweeney showed a man who obviously loved his wife, but was a product of his upbringing, the self destruct button never far away, one mistake perhaps the end of life as he knew it.
There were brief appearances from daughter, Ruby and Margot’s husband David. Ruby at the start of life, working things out, watcher of her mothers emotions, which perhaps she found burdensome, Margot the escape, easy to please, David, once successful heart surgeon, a stroke that put his career onto another path, a supporting role to his wife.
It was the interaction between the characters that stood out until Julian’s secret set off small fissures, betrayal felt by Flora, remorse from Julian, the rocking of the status quo for Margot. I found it all utterly fascinating as they each reassessed their roles, as Flora realised she had choices, choices that didn’t necessarily suit others. I loved the sense of empowerment Sweeney gave to Flora, and for me that was the crux of the novel, the need to look below the surface, to be brave, not accept what has always been.
The outcome wasn’t your typical tying up of loose ends, you never quite knew what Flora and the rest of the characters futures would be but that was the beauty of Good Company, the challenge of the unknown and unpredictable.
I would like to thank Harper 360 for a copy of Good Company to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller, The Nest, which is currently in development as a limited series by AMC Studios. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.