Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

What They Say.....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.

What I Say....Light summer read, but totally predictable.  I'm a huge Jane Green fan and I always look forward to her books.  

Ronni has been a medium level star who has always treated her family like an annoyance, and as a result, now has very limited relationships with all three of her daughters.  Having to fight for their mother's attention has led to all three girls having competitive relationships with each other - when there's not enough love to go around, children will fight for the scraps.

But now, Ronni has discovered she has a fatal disease and wants to make amends with her daughters and help them repair their relationships with each other (nurse alert: this doesn't usually happen, if your a narcissist all your life, you don't usually change in the face of death, you might actually become more self-absorbed).  

Nell is running a farm, living on her own after her son left for college.  Meri is living in London with a man she doesn't want to marry, but doesn't think she has any other options, and Lizzy is running supper clubs in the city, resenting her husband, ignoring her son, and carrying on an affair with her partner.  

The girls are beckoned home by their mother and given the news that she wants them to help her commit suicide.  The girls are understandably shocked and resistant to this idea, they haven't even had time to adjust to the news of their mothers illness before they are asked to help her die.

Since this is a Jane Green book, all the answers to your romantic problems are delivered to your door.  These books have ruined my chances at remarriage, since I now believe my true love will show up at my door to build me bookshelves.  

This is the third book I have read this year that has introduced a lesbian character as a woman who has gone her whole life without ever realizing that she is attracted to women.  I've never known a lesbian who didn't realize who she was attracted to until middle age - or that just fell in love with a woman and came out in the matter of two days.  I'm all for including all love in the mainstream, but I wish we were making it a little more believable.  How about one sister is gay, has always been gay, and is looking for her true love, just like the straight sister?  

Anyway, everyone has their loving encounter with their mother that heals all emotional wounds, except for Lizzy, the one spoiled all of her life.  Everyone finds love, except for Lizzy.  Hmmm....Lizzy does end up with the short end of the stick frequently in this book.

If you are looking for a light beach read, look no further.  This is a relaxing way to pass an afternoon and as light as it gets.

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