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The Good Children

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  608 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A superb story of death, love and deception. -- starred, "Library Journal"
A wrenching masterpiece about love, loyalty, and lies that will lodge itself in readers' psyches long after they've finished the last, stunning chapter. -- starred, "Booklist"
When they move to a new home in Oregon, the McNair family know they're where they belong. But when tragedy strikes the famil
Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Fawcett (first published 1998)
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Sandy Gamradt
This book ended too soon, I wanted more! I wanted to know what happened to the children after they grew up. This was a book I didn't want to put down!
The four McNair children have spent most of their childhood moving around (father’s job). Ironically, just as they settle in rural Oregon, their father dies and soon after that, their mother does as well. Educated from the cradle to distrust the social services system, the children (eldest almost 16) decide to bury their mother and go it on their own. With the help of a young and sympathetic lawyer (who doesn’t know their secret) we follow them through the next eight years of their lives. Excell ...more
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
With their parents dead and gone, their father killed on his job and their mother dead from what was believed to be a broken heart, the McNair children, Kevin, age 18, Amy age 17, Liz, age 14, and Brian, age 9, all underage when their mother died, raised themselves honoring the promise they made to their mother to never have a funeral or a repast after her death. When their mother died, the Children buried her in the backyard.

Kevin and Amy now old enough to go off to college and with thoughts o
Kathleen Hagen
reasonably well for a few years, but then the children are getting older. Kevin and Amy both have ambitious college plans. They would like to sell the house and settle the two younger children, Liz and Brian, somewhere so they can go on with their lives. But Liz and Brian remain in the house. Then some terrifying things take place bringing them closer to the truth about their mother’s death. But will the truth set them free, or bind them together forever? Very good book. Carrington MacDuffie is ...more
Barbara Boudreau
I loved this book! I listened to the audio book while driving, and literally would sit int he car when I got home to finish the chapters. The book really hooked you in - was written in a style that was believable for the age of the writer, kept your interest. It was believable because the story centered around siblings taking care of each other, and the deep dark secrets that siblings can keep with each other. Great read.
This is my first Kate Wilhelm and one of her older ones, but several heart pumping times in this story. Maybe a little far fetched but that's what a "suspense novel" is all about, right?
Soo I think I just had a deja-read..I could have sworn I read this years ago as this plot was vaguely too familiar however it had to have been pre-Goodreads (ugh what was reading life without Goodreads) so I didn't record it but I KNOW I have read this before..anyways was entertained for a while and I found out that if I have any kind of appointment (hair, doctor, dentist) I can read a book in a day and that is so wonderful LOL..So this book was about a family of six with mom, dad and four child ...more
Perry Whitford
The four McNair children had grown up friendless and on the move, their father's job taking them from state to state and their mother's innate mistrust keeping them wary of outsiders. Then one day they finally settle down for good in an isolated country house in Oregon.

But due to twin catastrophes they lose both parents one after the other and are suddenly left orphans. Their father died at work, their mother at home, and influenced by her mistrust of state institutions after the example of her
After spending their whole live on the move, the McNair family has finally settled down in an Oregon cabin and life is good--until both parents die. Afraid of being split apart in foster care, the four McNair children try to hold their family together themselves, but they are haunted by the memory of their mother. The Good Children has an intriguing, if cliché, premise, and it's easy to consume, but the writing is unremarkable and the book is entirely immemorable. There's no harm in reading it b ...more
[library audiobook, plot summary elsewhere]

Listened to the end, so it's a 3. Almost 25 years since first published.

Slow. Is it a spoiler to say nothing happens in the end? The older brother is a bit nasty. The narrator, younger sister of the 4, seemed a bit withdrawn and self destructive. The vaguely supernatural theme was not a plus.

But, Wilhelm's writing is generally interesting.

Knowing the total of the book now, I would skip it.
Evelyn Doyle
I finished it, so it's already done a lot better than other books I didn't enjoy. I won't say it was bad—such an accusation needs to have a rational; a technical basis—but the style simply wasn't to my taste. It's a lethargic narrative that, I imagine, is very a unusual style for a 'horror story'.

The premise sounded exciting, but the execution really wasn't. No excitement, no suspense, no quickened pace. I saw another reviewer state the book as short, but I haven't seen a bound copy. I listened
I thought there'd be no way these kids could do what they did until I read the book & saw it really could be possible. If I'm remembering correctly it had a fairly good outcome all things considered too, which made it more enjoyable. Not that it was a "happy book", but rather I mean it was a good read.
This book was so good. I enjoyed it so much ... I didn't expect to. I listened to it on audio and at first the voice sounded so creepy but I eventually got used to it. I enjoyed this book immensely. I didn't fall in love with it, which is why it's only a 4 star but I do recommend it to others.
Cara Correll
This book has so many mysterious moments in it that it will be sure to keep you wondering how the next page will change your feelings. It really plays with your emotions for each character and how they are feeling. A great suspense filled read.
Carolina Imhof
three and a half. I expected something else, because it says "a novel of suspense". Once I realised there wasn't going to be much suspense, I started enjoying the story.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I enjoy books from this author very much and listen to the books while working. this is an older book and not as progressed as the newer books.
A very interesting read about loyalty love and family. Fairly suspenseful throughout until you reach a bit of a fizzle at the end.
Another old (1990s) novel I discovered by Kate Wilhelm. She is an excellent writer - have yet to find something of hers I don't like!
Jenna Glading-razeghi
Really interesting story line. I was not sure I would like this but the story was interesting and held my attention throughout.
I found this book very entertaining. I grew fond of the characters and the story held my interest.
The plot is a little far fetched and at time unbelievable. However I Liked the twist at the end
This is a difficult book to rate. I have listened to other works by Wilhelm and was expecting more of a traditional mystery or suspense novel (I hate to use the word thriller). It was ultimately impossible to suspend disbelief. The main characters were able to successfully executive every scheme they devised to keep their family together. However, it was refreshing that there were serious consequences to their actions. I think that the philosophical elements were intended to be thought-provoking ...more
Kate Wilhelmina tells a good story. I prefer her legal defense tales.
This was a stand-alone novel written by one of my favorite authors, Kate Wilhelm. I've read an entire courtroom/mystery drama series and a Hugo Award winning science fiction novel by her. This was an entirely different type of book (realistic fiction), and I was, again, impressed by her abilities that include writing in a variety of genres. In some ways, this book is slightly reminiscent of *Flowers in the Attic* (but not really). It has a leisurely pace with lots of psychological development of ...more
A slow-moving narrative. I didn't like this at all.
Interesting and different. I had no idea what to expect from this novel…I was actually expecting some type of legal thriller but I was way off base. This quick and easy read is actually a personal tale about a family, specifically the four children. Kevin, Amy, Liz, and Brian all must deal with life after tragedy tears apart their family. I enjoyed the story and read it within two days but I have to say that I kept expecting something more. I kept waiting for an event that never really happened. ...more
the story of a family that moved to rural Oregon. Shortly after they moved in, the father dies and the family is distraught. The mother goes into shock and the kids have to do a lot to care for themselves. One day they return from school to find their mom dead also and they don’t want to be split up by the state so they band together to live the lie that their mom is still alive. After many years of deceit they finally have to unravel the lies and make things right again. I really enjoyed the st ...more
Four children (11–17) are left alone in the world after their parents have died. Though their father has provided a trust for them, they are all afraid of being separated and put into abusive orphanages (as their mother had been). So the children live out the deception that they have a mother until they all come of age and live on their own, but they hide a really big secret. The book is filled with love, care and ingenuity, and a very nice story.
Sometimes I find Kate Wilhelm's books a liittle dry for me, but this one was pretty good. It was interesting to see how the toll of losing both parents at young age. I have to say that for three of four children it was hard, but they accepted it. Execept for the youngest McNair child, who defintely made this book interesting with a ghost story feel. Also, I liked the emphasis of family to the plotline which at time also created tensions.
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Kate Wilhelm has won the Hugo and several Nebula Awards. She is the widow of author and editor Damon Knight.
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