Genre: Women’s Fiction
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 mothers 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 mothers illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.
I’ve been a huge Green fan for years and I always love when it’s time for her to release a new book. There is something about her writing and the easiness, the effortless flow that is like comfort food to me. The Sunshine Sisters was Green doing what she does best; crafting complex characters that virtually anyone could relate to while telling a story that is engaging and fun.
The entire first half of this is a bit on the slower side and impatient readers may get frustrated. It starts in the early eighties when mom Ronni is just beginning her career as an actress. Then there are several smaller sections from the nineties all the way through the early two thousands where the three daughters are growing up. I enjoyed this structure as it gave some background and showed what shaped each woman in a fairly quick way. At the halfway point, it’s present day and Nell, Meredith and Lizzy have all been called home by their mother because she has some news to share.
Ronni was not an easy woman to like, she was an awful mother and an even worse wife, but I really liked all three Sunshine sisters. They are all vastly different from one another but they were well fleshed out and I found I could relate to each of them in some way. They did sort of fit into the stereotypical roles of sisters, one is serious, one is a people pleaser and one is the flighty one, but those aren’t the sort of tropes that annoy me, so I wasn’t bothered in the slightest.
Despite some heavier topics it really does read like a light, summery read. At it’s heart it’s a novel about family, forgiveness, acceptance, letting go of painful pasts, and the always complicated relationships between mothers and daughters and sisters. I read it on vacation and it was truly the perfect book to read on the beach, it’s fun albeit slightly predictable but I honestly didn’t want to be thinking too hard while reading it anyway!
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.