The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Contrary to the cover of this book…it did not evoke the feeling of a beach read for me.
Summary provided by publisher:
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 Girls 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 are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.
Honestly, it took me a long time to finish reading this one. Though I didn’t exactly hate it…I didn’t quite love it, either.
Let’s go ahead and start with the bad, first.
Ronni Sunshine, epitome of the Hollywood diva (though she never was quite the starlet she likely would have preferred), is also the matriarch of the family. Reading about her life and how she treated her children was painful, and all because of what a narcissistic person she is. God, I just really disliked her. I couldn’t stand reading the details of her tedious life, and could of cared less about her early years trying to become a breakout star, nor what she had to do in her attempt to get there.
Then, if I were to pick another person I didn’t like, it’d have to be Lizzie, the youngest of the Sunshine girls. She’s pretty much had everything handed to her because of her beauty, and the things she actually did earn due to talent? They seem a bit cheap because of her attitude and indifference when it comes to how she would treat others. She was just as despicable as her mother at times, and when she finally realizes how wrong she was about several things in her life, she pretty much thinks she can just take them back, as if she hadn’t abandoned them.
I’m not sure if this is supposed to be some “great family story”, where they lay aside their differences and hug it all out, because if it is, it did not leave me with happy, satisfied feelings. If you couldn’t tell by my last few paragraphs.
By now, you’re probably wondering, ‘why did you rate this three stars if you hated it so much?’
Because I didn’t hate it. Sure, I didn’t love it, but even though it took me forever to get through – and my dislike for Ronni and Lizzie – I was still curious about this family, and I still wanted to know how Meredith was doing in London, or how Nell was doing on her farm.
Oh, and as much as I hate saying it, a certain TMZ-side of me still had to know what was going on with Lizzie and her…”complications”. And yeah, I wanted to find out if there was a chance for redemption with it came to Ronni and the girls. Whatever.
As for recommending this book, if you’re a fan of Danielle Steele, you’ll probably like this, because it kind of reminded me of the few books I’d read of hers in the past.
Thank you to Berkley Books via NetGalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.
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