Aprix Sweeney’s first novel by Cynthia in 2016, the Nest, was an instant bestseller for a reason. He had the allure of money; a charismatic, amiable villain as the central character; and a crackling cast of New York characters. In her second novel, Bonne compagnie, Sweeney once again flexes her talent to create a loving family dynamic that dissolves through stray behavior.
The seemingly idyllic life of Flora Mancini in Los Angeles as a voiceover actor and wife of Julian, a full-time TV actor, hits the rocks when she discovers an envelope with her husband’s wedding ring, allegedly lost years ago. From this crucial moment, the chapters alternate between the present and the past, revealing the reason for the disappearance of the ring, when the couple lived in New York with their young daughter Ruby and fought to stop Julian’s theater group Good Company from sinking.
If the attraction of regular work makes the Mancinis change the coast and improve their climate and way of life, you can find Flora’s best friend Margot, another good alum of the company. Margot’s husband, David, was forced to leave her job as a heart surgeon on the East Coast after he had a stroke, and Margot was lucky enough to land a recurring role in a daytime soap opera. Now she lives celebrity life.
Along the way, there were bumps in the road for the four friends, but life on the west coast treats the old Manhattanites well. However, the discovery of Flora breaks the illusion of her perfect marriage and her firm friendship with Margot.
As in the Nest, Sweeney deftly navigates the narrow path between literary and commercial fiction with a lot of wit, warmth, sadness and joy. Like a comfortable armchair, it is a novel in which you can immerse yourself and enjoy. Good company, indeed.