The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green is a 2017 Berkley publication.
This book is the ideal beach read.
Ronni Sunshine was once a famous actress, defining the narcissist personality we so often associate with that occupation. But, she also has three daughters, Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy, all of whom couldn’t wait to get away from Ronni… and each other.
But, now they have all been summoned home by Ronni, who has been diagnosed with a fatal disease… for real this time. She only has a little time left to get her daughters back together in one place, and to apologize to them for being such a wretched mother, and hopefully receive their forgiveness, but she also needs their help to carry out one final, shocking request.
After years of estrangement from their mother, the girls gather together with all their resentments and baggage coming along for the ride. Can they make peace with their mother and mend their broken relationship with each other?
All of Ronni’s daughters bring high drama with them- Nell, a single mom, who has never been able to get over her first love, no matter how hard she tries to feel a connection and real passion with someone else.
Meredith took a dull job, has a boring boyfriend, and finds great comfort in food, while trying to make everyone else happy.
Lizzy, is the youngest, and the most like her mother. She’s a successful celebrity chef, with a husband and young son, but she is also having a long running affair, she can’t seem to withdraw from, having also inherited her mother's spoiled self-absorbtion.
Under the same roof, the sisters become catty, with their barely contained annoyance with each other simmering just underneath the surface. But, when they find out their mother is gravely ill, they each take stock of their lives, and find the courage to take risks, embrace their sisterhood, and commonality with each other, and embark on a new chapter in their lives.
The story got off to a slow start, for me, but I’m glad I stuck it out. The real turning point comes when a writer shows up at Ronni’s, hoping to do a documentary over her life. His presence allows the sisters to look back over their mother’s life, and helps them put their childhood’s in perspective.
Other than Ronni’s illness, the story is not too heavy, and there are several comical moments along the way, but the emotional levels stay on an even keel, so you won’t have to worry about doing the ugly cry sitting poolside.
But, mostly this is a story about three sisters who did not have a strong parental influence in their lives, because their mother was so caught up in her career, always trying to keep the attention on herself and was a real life drama queen, and father who chose his second family over them. They all endured some kind of side effect from their upbringing that influenced the decisions they made and the actions they took as adults, with disastrous results.
They now have the rare chance to change the course of their lives, to make peace with the past and with each other and enjoy the last, but best gift their mother ever gave them… each other.
Overall, this is a nice and easy read, with nice character growth, and a feel good ending.
3.5 stars Reply