In Los Angeles, Elizabeth O'Connell has a happy marriage with her husband Keith and two young children. Though she doesn't always enjoy his travel schedule, she knows Keith loves them and works hard to give her and their children all the happiness life has to offer. Liz had a bad childhood and will do anything to keep her small family whole and together.
Liz's brother Isaac Russell has some doubts about Keith. Though Keith and Liz have been married for nine years, recently Isaac has cause to think something might be going on in Keith's life that he isn't telling Liz. When he follows Keith to Dundee, Idaho, Isaac has no idea about the upheaval he is about to create in two small families and an entire community. Will Reenie and Liz be strong enough to deal with the fallout? Will Isaac be able to resist his growing attraction for Reenie? And what about Keith, how will he cope when his two separate families collide?
BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY is the latest story in Brenda Novak's Dundee, Idaho series. The emotional intensity of this story is startling as the reader gets to know not only Reenie and her family, but Liz and her family. The parallel plots are both strong and engaging with many sad overtones for the pain the women have suffered. But rest assured readers, Ms. Novak never creates weak female protagonists and Reenie is no exception. She takes the blow to her family, her pride and her life in stride, or at least as much as she can. She has many decisions to make but she faces the future with courage that will definitely touch you. This story reads a bit like a soap opera in that there are multiple plots running throughout, there are many returning characters, and because the issue of bigamy is definitely not your typical romance storyline. However, Ms. Novak grounds the story with her clear prose that focuses on the small things in life, the important things. Reenie will earn your respect as she faces down the gossip from Dundee and learns to build a new life. This is one heroine who doesn't spend the novel crying in her teacup because of some man. She takes charge to the best of her ability and in the process, even meets another man who admires her and deserves her love in a way that Keith didn't.
I look forward to finding out what Ms. Novak has in store for Liz, and whether or not we'll see more of Keith. Once again, Ms. Novak has created a very emotionally draining story, but one that leaves you with a warm feeling at its conclusion.