The Sunshine Sisters…
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.
It’s been a very long time since I read a novel by Jane Green, but the cover of The Sunshine Sisters looked so fresh and inviting, I just couldn’t help myself from picking it up. I absolutely adored Jane’s earlier novels, Jemima J and Babyville, but for some reason never got around to reading anymore of them. I have at least three on my shelf bought but unread, which is a real shame because after this one, I can’t see myself ever reading a Jane Green novel again.
From the outset, I found this story hard going, and it was all down to the style of writing. Overly formal in casual situations, Jane seems adverse to using contractions but it all comes off very stilted and to be frank, odd. Then there is this awfully mixed tense thing going on, where in one sentence she’s using past tense and then in the next we’re propelled into present tense. Sometimes Jane even used both tenses in the same sentence. There was also a lot of going back before going forwards in terms of the character’s lives, which when combined with the mixed tenses, got confusing quite often. I also would have expected less repetition from an author with her backlist, but words and scenes were repeated over and over, in a very obvious way.
The characters were all rather shallow. I thought I might have developed a liking for Nell; she was the only character who showed promise. I stopped reading this novel at chapter 22, about half way, and skipped ahead to the epilogue. I rarely do this, but I just couldn’t bear to plough on any longer. I feel there’s a good chance that in doing this I’ve completely missed the point of the story, but to be honest, if you haven’t grabbed me by page 225, then you’ve missed your chance.
I feel very let down by this novel. Sadly, I’m discovering a tendency with ‘super famous’ American authors who release a lot of novels: their novels are deteriorating in quality. In the last year, I’ve picked up a James Patterson and a Danielle Steel and not been able to finish either of them. Now I’m adding Jane Green to this list of authors whose work I no longer trust. She’s come a very long way from her British chick-lit days, but not in a good way as far as I’m concerned.