Book Club: The Good Teacher

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Author: R.M. Anderson
ISBN: 9781489239167
RRP: $29.99

The Good Teacher is a small town story of secrets and scandals. It’s a story that I enjoyed and it kept me turning pages but after awhile it also started to seem a little over the top as it slid further and further into soap opera territory.

Stony Creek is a tiny farming town with a primary school that is just hanging in there. A primary school that employs one teacher (the principal) and casuals but has trouble filling the position. The P&C are passionate and want the best education possible for their children and the children of the town; because not all of the P&C still have children at the school.

I’m not sure you can really say there was a main character; there was a cast of leads and they all took their turns to tell the story in their own chapters. The timeline seemed very jumpy because of this, sometimes we got the same events from different perspectives.

The new principal applied for the job as a way to distance himself from his ex, not really looking to further his career because he’s a bit of a coaster. He’s good at his job more because he’s good with kids than any passion for teaching. Brock Kelly, the principal, is a character I quite liked. He was pretty self-aware and recognised his patterns and his shortfalls; and he chose to learn and grow from them. He found that passion for teaching and really wanted to settle in to make a difference in the lives of these kids.

Stony Creek is a tiny town, not a small town. The school is small enough that it’s on the brink of extinction and the department would be more than happy to close it down but the P&C are determined to keep their school open.

Tiny town with a P&C that basically runs the school and you know that they all thrive on gossip. Tiny towns have a great sense of community but they also have an amazing grapevine and a nose for scandal, not to mention long memories.

It’s not really a spoiler for me to tell you that the married P&C president has unexpected hot sex with the principal just before a P&C meeting because it’s in the blurb on the back of the book. The consequences are far reaching and they touch the entire town. One hot encounter sets off a domino effect that triggers many events that may not have otherwise occurred and the entire town is on the brink of explosion.

This is another book compared to Big Little Lies, and also to The Teacher’s Secret. Unlike those novels The Good Teacher gives you the whole story from the outset and it’s just a case of how it’s all going to play out.

The Teacher’s Secret is a book that I quite enjoyed but it did seem to get a little over the top at times. The scandals were all over the place and everyone seemed to have secrets to hide.

Mack was a character that I really loved. He is the patriarch of one of the farming families who has been put out to pasture. He has moved into a little cottage of his own on the property where for the most part he seems to be out of sight, out of mind. He is getting older and his age is certainly affecting him but he is still sharp as a tack and doesn’t miss much. He has his own theories about all that’s going on just by sitting on his porch and observing the movement of people on the stretch of road near his place.

The Good Teacher is a scandalous look at small town shenanigans and the long term affect on the town. It was in turns absurd, amusing and compelling; certainly an author I will look forward to reading again.

The Good Teacher is published by Harlequin and available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Good Teacher so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

18 thoughts on “Book Club: The Good Teacher

  1. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for gifting me this book to read.

    The Good Teacher is set in the small town of Stony Creek, a small quiet farming community.
    Like in many country areas the schools are small and some like Stony Creek only have one building and one teacher/principal.
    One day just before the P & C meeting the president of the P & C has passionate, unexpected sex with the new principal on his desk.

    What happens next is a fun tale of love, lust, friendships, families, rights and wrongs.

    There is no main character to this story. I would say there is one family comprising of Jennifer, Andy, Madison and Mack that could be seen as the main characters and they have lots of interesting events in their lives to share.
    Mack the grandpa that sits on his verandah of his cottage and knows everything that goes on in the town. He’s a grandpa that listens and offers support and guidance when he can. An all round nice guy to love and adore. He is my favourite character who doesn’t love a grandpa in a story

    The others in the town and around all have a role to play in this story and it is interesting and fun to see how their lives all cross over and merge into each other.

    Each characters has a part and the story goes from one side of the story to the other very cleverly done considering how many parts there are and even though there are many parts it does not get confusing at any time. Each part is clearly and easy understood. It’s like little stories all coming together to make one filled story.

    The Good Teacher is a fun read that shows that in a small town many things could be happening at any moment and that you just might not be aware of them all.

  2. The Good Teacher by R.M. Anderson is a story that thrives on gossip and the high jinks going in in the small town of Stony Creek, a quiet farming community with a one-teacher school.

    The thing about living in a small town like Stony Creek, isn’t that more people gossip, or even that people do more things worth gossiping about. It’s simply that because the town is so small, (just four streets and thirty houses) the impacts of one person’s behaviour can be felt by the whole community!!

    Everyone knows each other or has some type of relationship with everyone else! So in fact it makes sense to keep an eye on what everyone else is or isn’t doing!! But besides all that, with nothing much else to do, finding out other people’s business and gossip can be entertaining, unless of course it involves your own family or your standing in the community!!

    So when the handsome new male school teacher and the prim and proper Head of the P&C embark on a torrid affair, sparks fly… literally!! The consequences of their tryst affect everyone, including the school children, who finally have a teacher, who can actually teach!!

    There are some quite engaging characters – school girl Madison and her grandfather Mack are well portrayed. However I had less affection for immature school teacher Brock, uptight and self-serving Jennifer, touchy feely Susan or their lonely, dull husbands, Andy and Ian.

    The Good Teacher is a very light, easy book to read although I did find it a bit drawn out, and towards the end I was impatient for everything to be resolved.

  3. Beauty & Lace Book Review: The Good Teacher by R.M. Anderson

    The Good Teacher is set in the very small farming town of Stony Creek, and whilst there’s only thirty or so streets in the town, the characters that reside within it certainly have a lot drama going on!
    It all begins when newly-appointed principal of the one primary school, Brock Kelly, arrives and meets Jennifer Booth.
    Jennifer is president of the P&C (even though her only child, Madison has long since left the school), and is married to a man named Andy.
    One day, just before a P& C meeting takes place, Jennifer and Brock have unexpected, steamy sex in Brock’s office.
    When committee member, Sarah Howard, uncovers what has taken place, the scandal spirals out of control, and there is a lot to lose for all parties involved.
    Told through many alternating perspectives, including Brock’s, Jennifer’s, Madison’s and Mack’s (Madison’s grandfather, a delightful character that was one of my favourites) we gain a real insight into the ramifications of the affair, and the secrets that others within the community have.
    For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed The Good Teacher. The first half of the book I could not put down. I was drawn into the story and wanted to know how it would all pan out.
    The second half felt a little too dramatic and whilst I couldn’t predict how the story would end, it did lose a bit of the spark but was still rather riveting.
    Thanks for the opportunity to read and review The Good Teacher!

  4. An easy read and an absolute pleasure, “the good teacher” is a sordid tale in a small country town where the fallibility of people is made clearly evident. Follow the lives of Brock, an newly appointed rural principal, Jennifer and Sarah, farmers wife and members of the local P&C, Andy and Ian, the ladies husbands , as well as Madison (Jennifer and Andy’s child), Mack (Andy’s dad) and the detective.
    The tale tells of infidelity, a fire that burns down the school and the turmoil all this brings to the town and community. The relationship that starts all this has the potential to cause a ripple through the town that cannot be foreseen and has a lot of the town, including family members, blindsided. At the end of the story families are left broken, people learn to be stronger and the town finds a way forward (the happy sad ending of a great story).
    The story itself jumps from the perspective of one person to the next, overlapping and following the timeline. While I often find this type of story difficult to follow the signpost at the start of each chapter as to who’s perspective it is from is greatly helpful.
    I really enjoyed this book and look forward to investigating other titles by the author R.M. Anderson.

    Thanks for the opportunity. 🙂

  5. I really enjoyed The Good Teacher by R.M.Anderson.
    It was something I didn’t have to concentrate an awful lot on reading which for me is something I like in a good well written novel occasionally. It is nice to be able to enjoy a sordid little tale of small town life (being from and still living in one now).
    The small town of Stony Creek doesn’t know what it is in for when its new principal Brock Kelly arrives and what turmoil their lives will go through including infidelity , scandal , a fire and the never ending dramas of the local P&C .
    The story is told in different peoples perspectives which I actually liked , although I realise some people may not .
    Generally though I found this an easy to follow enjoyable read .
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the wonderful opportunity to read and review The Good Teacher.

  6. Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review The Good Teacher.

    I was very excited to read this book when I realised it was based in Stony Creek, as that town is local to me. However, unfortunately that’s about all I got excited about for the first half of this book.

    I found the first half of The Good Teacher to drag on, and to be honest I didn’t really enjoy it, I found myself not looking forward to reading it, it was just something to read. After getting to the almost halfway point I did start to enjoy it more however.

    At the start when you were getting to know the characters, the book was a bit erratic, it seemed to jump to lots of different characters too much, sometimes making it a little confusing.

    I loved Mack and Madison, and would have enjoyed them being a bit more in the storyline.

    I also quite enjoyed Sarah’s character too, and would have liked to see something good happen for her. She seemed to be helping everyone else out and not getting anything good for her in return.

    Jennifer’s character wasn’t someone I loved either. I thought she was bitchy, not motherly and just not a nice person. Really expected something to happen with the unprotected sex and pregnancy scare, I felt that the writer could have done a bit more there.

    Overall this book wasn’t a bad read, but it just didn’t have me captivated. The characters I enjoyed had the least part in the book, and I found that a bit disappointing. The book however did depict a small town well. Everyone knows everyone’s business, there are no secrets!

    Thankyou again Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the chance to review this book.

  7. This was a fun and quirky story and an easy weekend read.

    Richard Anderson created a novel that I related to through every page and word. I lived this book (not the exact story of course but the people and life). I have experienced exactly what it is like the be a part of communities like this and the amazing and frightening scenarios that arise when people are put into confines and asked to be best friends.
    He created a fantastic insight into small town life and the crucial part a school plays within a community like this. Farming families and small-town folk all banding together to keep their school and fight for the children’s future.
    This story created drama with Jennifer having sex with the new principal Brock only weeks after he arrives when she is married with a family. Continuing this affair through a school fire (where she pins the fire on Brock to remove blame from herself) and a daughter who sleeps with another local married man all in the space of the same night.
    Brock is the city teacher come to the country after a sea change and a to create a new life for him. He stirs the pot with the lively P & C leader Jennifer and creates a secret that begins to implode and sets off a chain reaction around the community which makes for some very witty and interesting reading.
    Sarah is a heartfelt character which in a second novel I would love to read some more about. Richard overall created a light and fun story of life when there is a long way to the nearest big centre. So instead they create their own drama and unleash a little bit of crazy on a sleepy little community.
    A great read.

  8. The Good Teacher by Richard Anderson

    Set in Stony Creek, a small farming community where people live a quiet, peaceful life and pride themselves in their proper behaviour. This is true of Jennifer Booth the P&C President who leads by example but then has passionate, unexpected sex with the new principal.

    This leads to a series of events which is quite unexpected including an accident that looks like sabotage and could jeopardise the children of this small community.

    At first I thought this was not a book for me but it soon took on a path that well and truly had me wanting more.

    It is a story of a scandalous affair (or two) in a small rural town where the people involved get close to destroying that community.

    It had me turning the pages and not wanting to put the book down.

    It was an easy, light read but after reading it I began to feel that there was maybe also a moral to the story although probably not intended by the author.

    It reminded me of the saying “Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practise to deceive “ Yes sometimes our actions can create problems and complications that can get out of control.

    Having said that it was a great book with a great story line.
    Bring on more Richard Anderson!!

  9. The Good Teacher is an enjoyable read that I couldn’t help but giggle at a few times, the characters were so real! As a mum of kids at a small country school, the similarities to some of the people and situations was uncanny!

    Jennifer Booth is P&C President at Stony Creek primary school, which seems a bit strange because her daughter is grown up.

    Anyway, on impulse (or is it?) , she sleeps with the new school Principal one night before a P&C meeting and so begins a chain of events that shows everyone has a little secret or two.

    This book explores relationships in such a relateable way, it’s easy reading with true language that had me engrossed.

    There’s Sarah whose perfect little family isn’t so perfect after all, Jennifer’s daughter Maddison who likes to stir things up, Mack the father-in-law who might just know more than everyone thinks and school principal Brock Kelly who isn’t auch a pushover after all.

    R.M Anderson’s ‘The Bad Teacher’ was a great read and one of my favourites of the year.

  10. What can I say about The Good Teacher but WOW….this is one of the better novels I have read this year and sooooo close to the truth of small communities and their schools it was realistically scary.
    As we enter the community of Stony Creek and learn more about it’s inhabitants I felt that I was looking at the lives of many small communities throughout Australia as myself and my children all attended small schools and lived in small communities.
    Brock Kelly, the new principal and godsend to the community of Stony Creek primary arrives from the ‘big smoke’ wondering what exactly he has let himself in for. Jennifer, the P&C president and married to Andy with a daughter Madison, makes Brock welcome – extremely welcome – when there is an attraction that they both cannot fight. Unfortunately for both Brock and Jennifer the illicit affair threatens to demolish the town when Jennifer’s post coital cigarette burns down the school. Jennifer goes into damage control and makes Brock take the blame thus leading to a downward spiral for the both of them.
    Sarah, Jennifer’s friend and neighbour knows immediately upon setting eyes on both Jennifer and Brock at the P&C meeting exactly what has occurred. Sarah flees the meeting to try and deal with her feelings only to get home early and find her husband Ian, in bed with their babysitter Madison – Jennifer’s daughter. Sarah takes her children and leaves Stony Creek to stay with her sister in the city until she can decide what to do, not knowing that the school has burnt to the ground.
    Sarah after much soul searching returns to Stony Creek and her husband begrudgingly so that her young children can see their father BUT she soon learns that Jennifer has placed the blame on Brock and that Brock will be leaving Stony Creek as Jennifer has absolutely no qualms in placing the blame everywhere except where it lies. Jennifer does not want to loose the power that she holds in Stony Creek and she will use every means at her disposal to get what she wants.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for providing me with an unstoppable read. I will be watching out for the next book by R.M Anderson.

  11. The setting for this novel is Stony Creek a very quiet, small farming community where everybody knows everyone or do they? Upon reading this very light, amusing novel I found myself comparing it to a place that I have lived. Gossipers thrive on other people and it can really hurt people.

    Our main characters are Jennifer the P&C President, Brock the new Principal and their secrets. Jennifer’s daughter Madison and her father in law Mack are actually characters that come across quite strong and loving.

    There are pages where I found myself giggling. On further reading into the story, we learn of other secrets, scandals, romance and plots of revenge against others.

    There are quite a few other characters that we learn right throughout the book and what I did like was each chapter would be about that character and we would follow and learn their story or connections with others. Sometimes in novels, they talk about characters and then chop and change all over the place and you have no idea where you are. You cannot get lost with this story.

    I found myself literally turning over the pages to actually see where this story was leading. The storyline is easy to follow and you do get to know and love most of the characters. I would have liked to see more of the story of Sarah and her husband though.

    I think I was probably expecting more to come out of the book and it just didn’t quite reach it but overall I enjoyed the read and will certainly read another book by this author.

    Thanks Beauty & Lace and Harlequin for the read of this book. It was enjoyable and I will be passing this on to a friend who knows this small community as well.

  12. The Good Teacher is set in Stony Creek a farming district where all appears to be good manners, and perfect lifestyles.

    Jennifer Booth the P&C President at the primary school, although a bit strange as her only child Madison is all grown up. Jennifer especially likes to lead by example. But when she has an attraction for the new principle, Brock Kelly all things change in her life with an affair. When Jennifer and Brock have sex prior to the P&C meeting at the school, and she has a cigarette and not taking care to butt out properly the school is burnt down. To save her own reputation Jennifer goes into damage control and convinces Brock to take the blame.

    As the story unfolds Sarah Howard works out what has happened and many different scandals now come to fruition. Sarah’s own husband sleeping with Madison, Jennifer’s daughter whilst she is supposed to be babysitting. Mack Madison’s grandfather who can see what is happening from the outside and waits to see how everything unfolds.

    The story is told through the eyes of many characters, Jennifer, Madison, Mack and Brock to name a few and all are involved in the secrets of the small town and the final outcome of the truth.

    The story for me started off a little slow, but a few chapters on it was really starting to heat up and I wanted to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next.

    A great story with a perfect ending for a small town with a bit of drama happening.

  13. The Good Teacher is a good book that gives an insight into small town living. This book is set in the town of Stony Creek and follows the lives of many different town residents. It jumps from perspective to perspective so you see what’s happening from lots of perspectives. The main plot of the story involves the small town school and what happens after the new principal has sex with the P & C president. What follows is lots of lies, scandal and town gossip and it is interesting to see how it plays out.
    This book has a good story that I got into but is a prime example of why my partner wants to avoid small country town living. Thanks for the opportunity to review Beauty and Lace and Harlequin.

  14. The Good Teacher by R. M. Anderson

    Stony Creek Primary School is a one room, one teacher school in the middle of a broad acre farming area – no hobby farms, no tree changers, no tourism, no handmade furniture. Just honest farmers who work the land for their living. It has a strong community who pull together to keep their small school going, and the P&C is the driving force of this.

    So when a new teacher arrives to take on the Position of Principal at the school, he is welcomed with open arms. The community soon learns that he is a great teacher too, so they will do everything to keep him there.

    But when something goes amiss in a small town, the news spreads quickly. And as scandals are revealed, more than one family must accept that things will change forever.
    But can the P&C manage to keep the new teacher?

    I enjoyed this tale from start to finish. The ending wasn’t predictable but rounded off the story well. The characters were believable and the rural aspect was well written. In fact, the author is a farmer and a family man.

    I would recommend The Good Teacher as an easy, satisfying read.
    Thank you Beauty &Lace and Harlequin books for the chance to read this book.

  15. Loved this book and so quick to read it as it is a page turner! I like how straight away you get involved in the small town drama. The president of the P&C and the new principal are having a bit of naughty fun after a P&C meeting!! So funny and cheeky, I loved the tale of lies and lust and revenge thrown in.. I needed this read after the previous heavy reading I had just finished.

    Thank you for allowing me to be part of this trial, I highly recommend The Good Teacher !

  16. This is my first 5 star rating since joining the B&L Bookclub. I adored this book! Such an easy read, yet also a very realistic depiction of small town living. I found the characters believable and thoroughly entertaining. I found this book so engaging, whilst also having a solid dose of humour. I look forward to discovering what other books this author has written and I’d love a sequel to see where the characters in The Good Teacher go next.

    I’d highly recommend this book to anyone wanting some holiday or weekend reading. It was a difficult book to put down at times and I would have happily read into the early hours in my pre-children days. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read The Good Teacher!

  17. The good teacher throws the reader straight into the underbelly of a small school’s p and c and their president’s dealings with the teaching principal. I found it hard to keep up with all the action at first as the author showed the same events from different characters’ perspectives. For this reason, I sometimes found the story a little disjointed, but all the pieces did come together.

    Highlights for me were seeing the growth of Jennifer and Tony’s daughter, Madison who was a character I disliked but came to admire throughout the story, seeing Sarah finally stand up for herself and regain her dignity, witnessing principal Brock also stand up for himself, and the truth about Jennifer’s character come out.

    I would have liked to get to know the whole town and setting a little better, but this story revolves around sex and power, not small town life as such, although this story wouldn’t work if set in a large city as the close ties between residents of small towns is central to the story working.

    This is not a story of happy endings, but an ending that wraps up enough loose ends to be satisfying while still leaving the reader wondering how the characters’ lives will eventually pan out.

  18. The Good Teacher by R.M.Anserdon is an easy, lighthearted and definitely enjoyable read, The story is set in the town of Stony Creek , a small rural community where scandal, secrets, love and even revenge have become a part of their everyday life. We meet lots of different characters each with their own story to tell, In fact each chapter is presented by an alternating character giving us his/her perspective of events.
    Things seem to begin when the new teacher/principal, Brock, has an affair with the P&C President ,Jennifer, and a ‘fire’ is accidentally started. Literally!
    The story is quite amusing at times and it is interesting to see how each of the characters develop throughout the book, some even stay their unlikeable selves.
    Thank you to Beauty And Lace and Harlequin for giving me the opportunity to read this book,

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