Thursday, June 24, 2021

Review: Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan

Lady Sunshine
by Amy Mason Doan

Publisher: Graydon House
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For Jackie Pierce, everything changed the summer of 1979, when she spent three months of infinite freedom at her bohemian uncle’s sprawling estate on the California coast. As musicians, artists, and free spirits gathered at The Sandcastle for the season in pursuit of inspiration and communal living, Jackie and her cousin Willa fell into a fast friendship, testing their limits along the rocky beach and in the wild woods... until the summer abruptly ended in tragedy, and Willa silently slipped away into the night.

Twenty years later, Jackie unexpectedly inherits The Sandcastle and returns to the iconic estate for a short visit to ready it for sale. But she reluctantly extends her stay when she learns that, before her death, her estranged aunt had promised an up-and-coming producer he could record a tribute album to her late uncle at the property’s studio. As her musical guests bring the place to life again with their sun-drenched beach days and late-night bonfires, Jackie begins to notice startling parallels to that summer long ago. And when a piece of the past resurfaces and sparks new questions about Willa’s disappearance, Jackie must discover if the dark secret she’s kept ever since is even the truth at all.

Kritters Thoughts:  Dancing on the cusp of historical fiction, this book has two timelines.  One takes place in 1979 as Jackie's uncle is dealing with the feeling of a career that is over as his last album wasn't as successful as he believed it should be.  The other storyline is 1999 and Jackie's aunt has passed away and has left the estate to her to do with it what she pleases and she returns after a twenty year absence and relives that fateful summer that spent her life spinning.

First, I always love a dual timeline book where the reader gets to experience two moments in time.  I appreciate when the reader knows early on the connection between the two timelines, but the mystery is within one timeline or another!  In this case, Jackie in 1999 is visiting these places that meant so much and dealing with some emotions that she clearly tucked away for a long time.  

Both the characters and the setting were so vivid in this story.  I could picture the free spirited folks of 1979 and I could feel the lives they were trying to live that was rubbing against the norm.  The estate itself and the land and its characteristics was a character all of its own.  From the free swing to the waterfall, I loved every moment where a character described the different spots on this land and it made me want to travel to California to see if I could find it!

I only have one backlist book by Amy Mason Doan that I need to read and with summer in the title, I may just have to pick it up this summer and complete her novels.    

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 76 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from HarperCollins.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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