Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Four Ms. Bradwells

The Four Ms. Bradwells: A NovelAuthor: Meg Waite Clayton
ISBN: 978-0-345-51708-1
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Available 3-22-2011
Source: TLC Book Tours
Link to purchase: The Four Ms. Bradwells: A Novel


Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant.

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.

Once again, Meg Waite Clayton writes inspiringly about the complex circumstances facing women and the heartfelt friendships that hold them together. Insightful and affecting, The Four Ms. Bradwells is also a captivating tale of how far people will go to protect the ones they love.

Meg Waite Clayton’s national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters was a word-of-mouth sensation and book club favorite. Now the beloved author is back with a page-turning novel that explores the secrets we keep, even from those closest to us, and celebrates the enduring power of friendship.


I had trouble writing this review in a way that shows the wonderful ability Ms. Clayton processes to write with candor, emotion and vigor. She is very talented and that is clearly displayed in this book. However, I had a few issues with the book that made it difficult to read. Because of this I have decided to break this review up into categories, due to feedback I have received in the past from many of you who enjoy this format.

Writing Style - Wow, Meg Clayton is a talented writer. I have not had the pleasure of reading her other titles, though I have had The Wednesday Sisters on my wish list for awhile. Meg takes the reader through the emotions of each character in a deep and meaningful way. You can feel the bond between these women as well as you can feel the hurt and pain that threatens to destroy their bond. This tug of war is what leads to the ultimate question and search for an answer to it. What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The book uncovers a deep, dark secret that has been buried between the Ms.Bradwells. This secret has deep roots within each Ms. Bradwell that has had over 20 years of silence and avoidance. When the subject of that fateful night re-surfaces the Ms Bradwells come to a turning point where all emotions, lies, truths and secrets are revealed. The result is a powerful display of love, despair, hurt, rejection, rivalry and undying devotion. All of this is portrayed through Meg’s writing. It is an extremely powerful novel.

Characters – My thoughts and feelings about the characters are very mixed. I myself have group of friends (4 of us) that are extremely close like the Ms.Bradwells, except without the law knowledge. We met in college and have been close with each other and our families since. In this respect, I was able to connect with the four women and understand the emotions tugging beneath the surface during this period of trial in their friendships. While they are each unique and interesting in their own ways, I was unable to really connect with them. I was able to feel and experience their emotions due to Meg’s writing but I didn’t feel attached to the characters themselves.

Format - The book is told from each characters point of view or voice. I normally love this set up in a novel, but it was hard to follow with this title. The characters are deeply intertwined with each other and so alike that it was very hard to follow who was speaking. In addition to this, there was a lot of dialogue between the characters within the voice speaking that I often forgot who was telling their part of the story. I found myself double checking to see who was speaking quite often. It took a good third of the book for me to not have to think about who was speaking.

Interest Level – It took me a little bit to get into this book. About the time that I was firmly established in the book, the secret was revealed and I was left trying to remain established. The topic, for me, was one that was hard to read about, though Ms. Clayton does a wonderful job writing it and gives the least amount of detail possible about the actual event, which I appreciated. My main struggle was reading all of the legal aspects of the story. It made the book easy to put down because the story would become dull. It seemed the author puts off the story when she would write these parts. I was far more interested in the mystery surrounding these women, the truth of it all and how it would affect their friendships and lives.

Pace – The novel has a fairly steady pace with moment that lag as well. I was able to put this book down more often than I prefer, but also picked it back up fairly quickly. I did periodically need a break from the book, which might have had to do with the content and subject matter as well as the slow parts.

Length – The novel was an average length at 317 pages. It felt longer. I wished some of the law aspects were not as drawn out. I felt the story could have continued quicker and ended sooner while still leaving me satisfied.

Overall, it is clear that the author knows her stuff and has done her research with this novel. This is apparent in her legal terminology and historical knowledge. In regards to the story line it is very intriguing and as the reader, I wanted to know what took place and what secrets the women were hiding from everyone as well as from each other. This novel was definitely worth the read and I really grabbed hold of the wonderful writing and portrayal of love that Meg emphasizes in this book. The book is ultimately a beautiful story of relationships and friendship and how far you are willing to go to protect them knowing you have the chance of loss.

Connect with Meg Clayton:

Her blog
Twitter: @megwclayton

3.5 out of 5 Photobucket's

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  1. Thanks for the review... my eye has cought this book a few times and I was wondering what it was really about. I think I'd like to read it, it doesnt sound like the type of book that I thought it would be, it sounds much much better.

    Thank you so much!

  2. I love the way you broke your review into sections - it made it easier for me to see what you like and what you didn't like. It helped me to determine if what I look for in a book matches what you look for and if this book would be a good read for me.

    Thanks for such a thorough review and for being on the tour!

  3. I appreciated your review. I've heard a lot of chatter about this book; I would still like to read it 'to see'; good writing can be enjoyed for its own sake, but it's nice to know what to expect when going in.

  4. This one so intrigues me. I enjoy books with multiple narrators. I find they're usually books I say "just one more chapter" and end up reading in one sitting!

  5. I like stories that give each characters point of view. I'm sure I would enjoy this book.

  6. I had read about this book before and it looks like a book I would enjoy. Curious about it!


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