The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

The Sunshine Sisters Book Cover The Sunshine Sisters
Jane Green
Fiction
Penguin
2017
Hardcover, paperback, Kindle, Audiobook,
384

"All women will recognize something of themselves in one of the Sunshine sisters. Jane Green's best yet. I raced through this."--Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and Paris for One and Other Stories 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...

Other’s dirty laundry isn’t always intriguing…

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green is a contemporary twist on the stereotypical Mommy Dearest theme: glamorous and loved Hollywood starlet produces dysfunctional family dynamics and children.  While even a well worn scenario can produce applicable and timeless lessons on life and love I just never got there with this story.  By no means was this due to Jane’s writing ability, she is a solid writer with an easy to read style and a knack for building settings and characters through her words.  The book flowed easily and I was drawn through the story with hopes that it would be at least a satisfying experience.  But that just didn’t happen.

 

My main issue with the book was that the story was all too predictable.  From the progression of the plot to the actions of the characters I could almost tell you what would happen next.  The one plot twist I did not expect I will get into in a minute.  Like I said earlier, even a predictable story can be heartwarming and remind you of the things that are important in life.  The Sunshine Sisters never gave me that warm fuzzy or made me appreciate or evaluate my own life like I would have expected from a story about reconnecting and rediscovery.

Unexpected or Unnecessary content is distracting

I think what ultimately soured me about The Sunshine Sisters was the unexpected and unnecessary sexual content.  It’s not that I’m opposed to sexually explicit scenes if they fit with the book. For the most part The Sunshine Sisters is written for a general ChickLit audience; because of their mothers terminal illness, the three sisters must confront their own personal insecurities and perceptions as well as their relationships with each other.  In the end, they are able overcome much of damage their narcissistic mother inflicted on them emotionally and mentally.  One of the sister’s healing involved her realizing an attraction to another woman while another left her boorish, rigid fiance and connected with a free spirited man.  I was on board with these developments until I was hit with a completely unexpected, explicit lesbian sexual encounter, as the story was winding down.   In this case a graphic sexual scene was simply out of place based on the rest of the book.

As a caveat, I do not think you should let my experience completely stop you from reading The Sunshine Sisters, especially if you are a Jane Green fan.  Different stories speak and impact various readers differently. Hopefully, this review will leave you more informed when ultimately deciding.

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