Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Lady Sunshine - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  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.

Genre: Fiction 

Why I Picked This Book:  I can never resist a going back to an old place and digging into past secrets so of course I couldn't resist this one!

My Impression:  I think a lot of people will really love this one.  The author has a very flowy sense of style and manages to make the setting come alive without giving it too much structure.  Jackie is a good lead as she is a little bit apart from it all.  While she does love music she was never in the music industry and in both timelines is a bit of an outsider looking in.  She's likable and relatable even if a bit conflicted at times.  Her memories of the summer of 1979 are touched with gold with hidden darkness.  She can't resist remembering but at the same time her reflexive action is to retreat.  

I enjoyed both timelines and it was interesting how the property can't help but draw musicians.  In both Jackie is trying to figure things out.  In the 1979 she is desperate to fit in and learn more about her mother and in the 1999 she is still stunned that she ended up with the estate and is trying to race her demons and figure out what she wants.  My only real issue and what kept me from really loving it was the "secret" premise.  I love a book where past secrets are discovered but I get impatient when there is no progress to discovering what the secret is - especially if the main characters know it or at least have a pretty good idea.  This is one of those books.  Part of what keeps the secret under wraps for so long is Jackie's own fears about facing what happened or discovering more which made it better but it still kept me from being too hooked.  This was a good read and this is an author that I will definitely seek out in the future

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely.  I really enjoyed the writing style and will be looking for more books from this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  Especially if the secret issue doesn't bother you.  It's a lighter read but an interesting one.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Unusual cover art based on the storyline. Seems like a pretty good story.

  2. Sounds good and I enjoy reading books set in the 1970's.

  3. I looked at the cover and thought what hippie book is Katherine now reading?? LOL!! But the description and your review does sound enticing. I also love going back to old places and see what happened there...!

    Hope you and Will are having a good week.

    Elza Reads

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful review. I've been curious about this book.

  5. Hmm so pluses and minuses. However any book that keeps us reading wins in my thinking.

  6. This sounds interesting. I usually like books with two timelines but I think that I would really want to know that secret!

  7. I requested this on NetGalley. I would love to read it. ☀