Big Girls Don't Cry is one of Brenda Novak's earlier Dundee series books. I hadn't read it when it came out, but I did just recently and found it hard to put down. She creates well-drawn, realistic characters and the protagonists in Big Girls Don't Cry is no exception.
How do you live through a lie? What happens when you discover the man you love, the husband of your children, is also a husband and father to another family two states away?
When Isaac Russell finds it hard to believe how many business trips his brother-in-law makes to Phoenix and how upsetting it is to his sister Liz, Isaac decides to check into the situation, especially after he spots his brother-in-law Keith O'Connell at an airport headed to Boise, Idaho. Isaac follows, and can't believe his eyes when Keith drives an SUV to the small town of Dundee, parks in the drive of a suburban house and is warmly greeted by another woman and three kids.
Reenie Holbrook married Keith, her high school sweetheart, settled down and began a family, but for the past nine years, her husband's business travel takes him away from home two weeks out of each month. Reenie wants to buy a farm and settle down, but Keith balks. Isaac confronts Reenie with the truth about her marriage and her husband's bigamy. He's hoping Reenie is a typical "other woman", but he finds her as much a victim of the deception as his sister Liz.
When Liz discovers the truth about her marriage, she separates from Keith, who apparently is choosing Reenie over her and moving to Dundee. Liz decided to move to Idaho to allow her children access to their father and Isaac goes along to make sure his sister is protected. He doesn't plan on falling for his sister's rival.
Ms. Novak has penned a sympathetic story showing the devastating impact of an irrational act on many lives. Liz is the hardest hit because she is the outsider, and her brother's interest in Reenie seems another betrayal. It's an adult novel in that bigamy is an adult situation, but Ms. Novak creates an enjoyable story of friendship and redemption in this well-written romance. I look forward to Liz' story, The Other Woman.