For an actress staring down the prospect of an empty nest, Flora Mancini’s inner voice is channeling different takes on one Shakespearean line an awful lot:
To be pissed, or not to be pissed?
To forgive, or not to forgive?
To believe, or not to believe?
To regret, or … screw it, I need a drink.
In Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s followup to “The Nest,” “Good Company,” Flora and Julian seem to have it all — the perfect marriage (Florian!) between two actors, a beautiful, intelligent, not-following-in-their-footsteps daughter, Ruby and best friends in Margot and David, another power couple with hefty career resumes. Once college roomies, Flora and Margot have been lifelong best friends, supporting each other in good times and in bad.
So what does one do when their best friend is found to have been keeping a secret about a husband?
Like her first hit with “The Nest,” D’Aprix Sweeney takes awkward family dynamics head on in “Good Company.” At its center, Flora is the poster child for a midlife crisis, with Ruby headed off to college and a marital secret spilled when a long lost ring is found by accident, for the second time.
And let’s be honest, even without the relationship strife, isn’t an empty nest often the trigger for some long, hard thinking about what that next chapter in a life should contain? Do you want to stay in your home or is it time to downsize? Do you want to stay where you are or does your job let you work from anywhere? Do you even want that job anymore? And can you go back to where you once were?
Flora —and Margot — have a lot to consider over the course of a summer, with next steps suddenly not so concrete. What does love look like when you are suddenly untethered from something that was your constant?
D’Aprix Sweeney engages readers immediately with the central plot twist, making “Good Company” the book you won’t want to put down until you have some answers. No character is perfect, each works to own their flaws, and she crafts their personas in such a way that you find yourself rooting for pretty much every one of them.
And yes — it’s also written to be transformed into a TV series. I mean it — if this doesn’t find its way onto a streaming channel, what a miss that’ll be. There’s the main story, of course, but with a million threads to pull. What’s David’s perspective on his career and the health crisis that derails it? What about Julian’s past? Does Maude write that book? And for that matter, relationship between Flora and her mother? What about Ruby and school? Or Margot and Charles? Does she becomes a judge and he her bailiff? Ah, the POSSIBILITIES. I really need to know these things, Cynthia. It isn’t fair to leave us hanging, you know.
Good Company hits local bookshelves April 6. Don’t miss it.