The New York Times bestselling author of Falling presents a warm, wise, and wonderfully vivid novel about a mother who asks her three estranged daughters to come home to help her end her life.
Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.
As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.
But now the Sunshine Sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all...
My Review of The Sunshine Sisters
Jane Green’s, The Sunshine Sisters is the emotional story of a three estranged sisters coming home to be with their mother during her final days. Ronni Sunshine, a movie actress has had some limited success in her career. Recognized and adored by many, Ronni loves the spotlight and the adulation of her adoring fans, but all of this self-absorption and egotism comes at a cost. Her marriage eventually dissolves due to countless affairs and her daughters become adept with coping with her mood swings but not without a price. Nell, the eldest has learned to hide her feelings and cuts herself off to others emotionally, Meredith learns to swallow her feelings with excess food and Lizzy, a wild young version of her mother, practically raises herself. Trying to please their mother while avoiding her wrath, the girls eventually grow up, grow apart and in due course leave home.
As time goes by the sisters live successful lives, but remain distant from one another. Nell manages a large farm while raising her son solo, Meredith becomes an accountant while engaged to a man she doesn’t love, and Lizzy now a mom, becomes a famous chef, but is unfaithful to a spouse she claims to love. Soon the sisters’ world comes crashing down with a phone call from their mother asking them to return home. Once reunited she reveals she has ALS and is dying, but plans to hurry the process and desires her girls by her side. In the time she has left Ronni hopes to make amends to her daughters for all the years of neglect and hopes with all her heart the Sunshine sisters can become reacquainted and learn to love each other again. With time running out for their mother, the sisters are forced to confront the past in order to forgive their mother and embrace a bright new future together.
What I liked about Jane Green’s The Sunshine Sisters is her strong female characters. Ronni is a formidable woman that made me scream one minute and cry the next. Nell made me want to shake her to elicit emotion while Meredith made me weep with her lack of self-worth and untapped potential. Lizzy though beautiful and talented made me want to shake some sense and sensitivity into her because she was too much like her mother. I was pleased that despite their regrettable upbringing the sisters forgave their mother and accepted her shortcomings and found their way back to each other and connected like they couldn’t growing up. What I didn’t like about The Sunshine Sisters was the excessive coarse language and occasional racy scene. I don’t feel it added anything to the storyline and at times was excessive and took away from the characters and the emotional drama of the story which stood on its own.
The Sunshine Sisters is a story of love and forgiveness in the most difficult of circumstances. It’s a story of what it means to be family during good times as well as bad.
I want to thank Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for an advanced copy of Jane Green’s The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green for a fair and honest review.
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