I started this book back in March when I first received an advanced reading copy, but then I set it down as it wasn’t much my cup of tea. When I picked it back up recently and went to finish it, I realized that part of the problem was that it’s more of a summer beach read than an “It’s March And Still Snowing Where I Live” kind of book.
My final opinion is that this is a decent book with an interesting cast of characters, but the plot isn’t something to write home about. The story centers around three sisters (The Sunshine Sisters, as it were), who have returned home at their narcissistic mother’s request. Each of them has a strained relationship with the other Sunshine women, but they put this issues (mostly) aside for their mother’s sake.
I’ll start with the things I liked about this book. First, it’s well-written, and even though there are a multitude of POV characters, each feels like a separate, independent, realistic character whose inner dialogue that differs from the rest. I also really loved the ending (no spoilers, but in my mind it was just the right amount of happily-ever-after without verging into teeth-rotting fluff). There is also several points int the book where gender stereotypes are flipped, which was refreshing to see, but at the same time there are cases where the stereotypes hit you upside the head, so brownie points on this front were gained and then immediately revoked.
Now onto my not-favorite parts: for one thing, the first section is made up of HUGE time jumps. While I understand that Green was trying to give background information to explain the current relationships between the sisters and their mother, it felt like an info dump, and the large gaps (I’m talking 8-10 years) made the section feel choppy, and the timeline got mixed up. For example, two sisters in two chapters of this section give different years for their father’s remarriage. That being said, the references in each of the chapters in the past are time appropriate, so it’s clear that thought went into them.
The plot was also pretty predictable; I had guessed every major ‘plot twist’ chapters before it happened. The saving grace to this is that the “reveals” were well-written, but that only partially makes up for the predictability.
And the ending I mentioned sort-of liking? It happens super fast – to the point that I was surprised the book was over.
I’ve never read Jane Green Before, although it appears that she’s a prolific writer. Based on this one example, I’d probably read another, but I’ve learned my lesson about choosing a book with a beach on the cover for when it’s still snowing outside my window. That reminds me- the cover has nothing to do with the book! The title comes from the family’s last name, not that they ever go to the beach. Not only do they never go to the beach, the three sisters are rarely in the same room, and even spend most of the book in two different countries. I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do feel that the cover should have something to do with the story, and this one didn’t at all.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE MOVIE? There is apparently a 1972 movie directed by George Kuchar entitled The Sunshine Sisters, but it has nothing to do with this book, which was published in June of 2017.