Set in the 1960’s when women aren’t expected to graduate from law school, let alone become lawyers, newlywed Ruth Appelbaum must learn to balance her professional goals and aspirations with the domestic expectations of being a homemaker in her mother-in-law’s upper-class Philadelphia neighborhood. A fascinating and honest look at women’s history just before the progression of feminism, Well Behaved Wives and its spirited characters grapple with complex issues never acknowledged in polite society of the time. Together these friends must find ways to support each other in a culture that does little to lift women up beyond their ability to throw a good dinner party and dress correctly. In fact, it seems as if even their older mentors value their social skills more than their dreams. Do wives and mothers of the time even have other aspirations beyond their homes? Can one have, and want, both? Readers of Nathan’s earlier novels will appreciate the journey of a young Jewish woman discovering her own way, and the deep friendships forged along that path. Readers will be moved by Amy Sue Nathan’s inherent understanding of women’s relationships and family dynamics. With a nod of support to all women, the author has an uncanny talent to make us feel seen and inspired. Mrs. Maisel, move over and make room for Nathan’s fresh and determined cast of characters in this well-written and page turning novel, Well Behaved Wives. I say this every time Amy Sue Nathan releases a new book, but this wise novel is Amy Sue Nathan’s best yet.
Tina Ann Forkner is a former Substitute Teacher and School Librarian who lives and writes in Las Vegas. Her women’s fiction includes THE REAL THING, WAKING UP JOY, ROSE HOUSE, and RUBY AMONG US. She is also the author of NASHVILLE BY HEART, a love story.