FAMILY IS AT THE HEART OF THIS COMFORT READ
I’m always fascinated by the lives the children of famous people must lead; half in the limelight and half out; the ones behind the scenes who see what the celebrity is really like. That’s what Jane Green’s latest novel The Sunshine Sisters is all about and it definitely didn’t leave me feeling envious of Suri Cruise or little Blue Ivy!
Ronni Sunshine is a faded B-list movie star. Beautiful, vain and self-obsessed, she was a terrible wife and mother. Her three daughters have all been left scarred by their upbringing in different ways and over the years have become estranged from one another.
Nell is a fiercely independent single mum who has closed down emotionally. Meredith is a fragile people pleaser who has settled for a life that is entirely wrong for her. And Lizzy, the one who most takes after her mother, is a beautiful and successful celebrity chef, but also deeply unhappy.
When Ronni discovers she is dying, she calls her daughters home to be at her side. But they don’t realise she is being as manipulative as ever. And part of her scheme is to try to heal the rift between them all.
As the sisters come together, old jealousies and insecurities surface. But the reunion of this dysfunctional family also triggers something else for the women and each rethinks her life in crucial ways.
This novel is your classic beach read, designed as a light-hearted escape and an easy page-turner. How much you love it will probably depend on whether you warm to its characters.
Nell is cold, Meredith is a bit wet and Lizzy has got tickets on herself so potentially you won’t like any of them!
Even so, it would be difficult not to get caught up in the story, whether you’re relaxing on a sun-lounger or huddled beneath a rug on the sofa.
Jane Green has a skill for warm, insightful writing about complex family relationships and her style is breezy and chatty. I’d describe The Sunshine Sisters as a “comfort read”, undemanding and diverting but not a novel you want to think too deeply about after you’ve flipped over the last page.
Oh, and by the way, the cover – which is very pretty – appears to have nothing to do with the story at all!
The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green (Macmillan, RRP $34.99).