The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

When this showed up on several summer reading lists, I decided to give it a go.

The Sunshine SistersRonni Sunshine is a narcissistic self-absorbed actress who has managed to estrange her entire family. Her husband has divorced her, married and moved on. Her daughters have little contact with her and even less with each other.

Growing up, her girls had learned to read her moods and each had a different way of dealing with the need to run for cover and each left home as soon as they possibly could. Nell, the oldest lives closest, but only in terms of distance. She makes a new family for herself and her son and has been running a local farm since high school. Meredith, always not quite good enough in her mother’s eyes, has settled for a life in which she spends her time trying to convince everyone else that she is happy. The youngest, Lizzy, who is most like her mother, has become a successful celebrity chef. She selfishly balances her work life with her family life leaving both her husband and young son coming up on the short end of things quite often. When Ronni calls her girls home, they expect her usual drama and vitriol. What they find is that this time their mother actually is quite ill.

I found the story an enjoyable read. I admit that I was expecting a different kind of story based on the cover, which near as I can tell has very little to do with the story, except for showing the distance between the sisters. The characters are compelling and well fleshed out. After reading about the girls’ childhood, even I had a bit of PTSD. Though in the end, I came to respect Ronni Sunshine, I was angry with her for most of the book for pushing her daughters into the unhappy lives they ended up in. While the ending was bittersweet, and when dealing with a terminal illness it can be no other way, I did find it to be a satisfying one. I can add Jane Green to my list of go-to authors.

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