The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read The Beach House years ago and fell in love with Jane Green's writing charm and witty humor. I loved how she delved into deep issues fearlessly but with a sense of lightheartedness that made for great reading.
Jane Green's The Sunshine Sisters did not disappoint. It had that same feel as The Beach House, which was a great thing. The story follows the Sunshine family through the decades. In many ways, it is a family saga, but it is also about how the past can impact our identities.
Ronni Sunshine was a famous actress. However, she was never quite at the top of the Hollywood circuit. She was always just on the cusp of true, undeniable, life-altering fame. Because of this, she spent most of her life chasing that fame, resulting in a loss of connection with her three daughters. Through the years, the three daughters, Lizzy, Nell, and Meredith, are impacted by their mom's attitude and character.
The book is set at the end of Ronni's life, when she realizes how many mistakes she's made. She comes to regret the fact she hasn't been there for her daughters and that her daughters aren't close anymore. Deciding she still has time to make things right, she sets out on an impossible task: she wants to bring her family back together.
The book tells the family's story through the decades, giving us glimpses into their dynamic through the years. I love how each sister is very different and finds her own path in life. Each sister has her own successes and her own challenges. The three sisters have complex lives that are far from perfect, which made the book exciting to read. I love how there were so many different viewpoints and stories happening within the story.
I also love the deep themes that run through the book. Jane Green touches upon identity, family, loyalty, regret, and so many other human emotions in this book. I think every woman can relate to several pieces of this family's puzzle, which makes it a truly unique novel. It captures so much of the modern woman's struggle in a way that isn't in-your-face. It doesn't feel like a lecture; Jane Green's writing allows the reader to come to their own conclusion about the theme and about life itself.
I love the lighthearted moments that break up the novel. Lizzy was my favorite character by far. I found her to be the most human and the most exciting. I love the entire premise for the novel and found it to be very addicting. I also felt like I left the novel with many thinks to think about. This is definitely a book you could read several times because there are just so many themes running through it.
The only thing I disliked was the tense. The book is told in third person, and I found during the earlier segments of the book, the present tense felt awkward. I'm not sure if this was just me or because I've read a lot of books in past tense. I just found myself being thrown from the story. However, when the story got to present day, it made more sense.
Overall, Jane Green's newest book is a must read for the summer and really for anytime. I like that the cover captures the feeling and main plot of the story perfectly. Above all, I love that Jane Green managed to make me feel something for the Sunshine sisters. Even though I'm an only child, I felt like I could understand the bond of sisterhood, the loyalty of family, and the way it all shapes the women we become.
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