I'm not sure what I expected from this book, but I can certainly tell you it wasn't what I got.

This was a truly great story told beautifully. I found myself reluctant to put it down and on those occasions where I was forced to abandon it, my mind kept going back to it.

It begins with the culmination of a chain of events which lead to the public shaming of Romy, and then takes us back 3 months to where the true story began.

The neurological reasoning behind Romy and Jay's actions were totally convincing, and even though the novel was filled with references to "frontal lobes" and the effects of dopamine levels, it never confused me so much that I was disengaged with the novel. In fact it gave some very interesting and esoteric ideas and reasoning of behaviour that just enhanced my pleasure (I'm sure there would be a more scientific way of describing this, but alas I'm not that clever!).

I loved the intertwining of all the characters in the book, from the alcoholic grandfather Adam, to the "bit weird" but wonderful, Ben. Each had an important role to play as the story unfolds and becomes clear.

In much the same way as a previous read, Viral (Helen Fitzgerald), seeks to show the damning effects of the role of social media, the way the two novels deal with it is so far apart. Here, the public shaming and condemnation of Romy is reminiscent of the punishment dealt out in history with public executions. The effects of it are felt through the family, Ailsa effectively being temporarily suspended, and younger brother Ben being ostracised by his friends and their mothers. The heart wrenching devastation it causes between Luke and Romy was particularly difficult to read. Not that it's discussed in detail, but still Neill manages to convey a sense of destruction that would be hard to overcome.

Strange really that one simple act of kindness can be so utterly complicit in destroying so many lives and futures. How random the world is really.

I was totally enamoured with Ailsa; finding great comfort in her need for grammatical correctness as well as a desire to emulate her ability to find the most suitable literary quotation for every situation. She lent an air of authority to the story, in addition to the mothering instinct to protect her family at all costs. That's not to say she was without her flaws; (certainly she had many severe lapses of judgment) but it all built up to provide a picture of a true human being, loved and loving, aspirational yet blinkered.

It was lovely being fed information, and good to be not challenged but provoked whilst reading.

The Good Girl is a wonderful read.