Jackie is seventeen years old and wants to escape her life in San Francisco. She is permitted to visit her folk singer-songwriter uncle Graham for the summer. He is the brother of her deceased mother and lives on a 416-acre compound in northern California by the ocean with his wife Angela and teenage daughter Willa. Graham had been a top artist but his career has waned. He now welcomes other artists to use his legendary basement recording studio and come and go as they please. It’s a free-spirited, bohemian wonderland with hot springs and waterfalls. Twenty years later, in 1999, Jackie learns that after the death of her aunt, she has inherited the Sandcastle, her uncle’s sprawling property, as well as the rights to his music catalog. She leaves her quiet existence in Boston to head back to the idyllic place that forever changed her.
Once Jackie arrives at the Sandcastle to prepare for its sale, she learns that her uncle has left behind a book of song lyrics that, at the request of her late aunt, is to be recorded as a tribute album. Jackie has to confront her happiest and saddest memories and figure out how her inheritance might impact her future as the recording of the album brings back all her suppressed emotions from that special summer.
Nostalgic and touching, I loved Lady Sunshine. Author Amy Mason Doan has previously written two wonderful and poignant summer books about friendship and love, with complex characters and beautiful settings. This, Doan’s third book, has the same appeal and is by far my favorite. I was swept back to the summer of 1979 when Jackie and Willa became close friends. Willa, preferred the music of her favorite J singers – Joan Armatrading, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell. Jackie gravitated to Blonde, Andy Gibb and Hot Chocolate. Doan's description of the Sandcastle painted a perfect picture of a magical place. As family secrets emerge, you will be glued to this book.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Contemporary Historical Fiction.
Publication Date: June 29, 2021.
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