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  • Wondrous & Emotional

    This story is awash with summer, reminding me of those summers of childhood where the season seems endless when school's out, but time suddenly speeds up as the number of carefree sunny days dwindles with the new autumn lesson term looming. Jackie Pierce and her cousin Willa are not children this particular summer; they are 17 when the story begins and Lady Sunshine is a story of a summer where everything changes. Twenty years later Jackie returns to the place she left behind, along with her memories of friendship, love and loss. It’s 1979, and Jackie is spending her last summer of high school at The Sandcastle, the home of her Uncle Graham, a 1960s famous folk singer. Jackie, glad to be escaping from the conformist life she usually follows with her father and stepmother, enjoys the free-spirited circle of artists, musicians and friends that knocks about her Uncle Graham's at The Sandcastle on the California coast. That's when she meets her cousin, Willa. Twenty years later, Uncle Graham is long dead, as is her cousin Willa. Jackie inherits the house, the grounds, the studio and all the memories they all left behind. She’s back for one final summer, the summer of 1999, to pack everything up and sell The Sandcastle. She decides to lengthen her stay when she finds out that her estranged aunt promised an up-and-coming producer he could record a tribute album to her Uncle Graham at The Sandcasle's studio. This is such a fantastic summer read! I could feel the heat of the long-ago summer and hear the sound of the rolling surf so richly described by Amy Mason Doan. The story ambles along at a steady pace, building slowly at the beginning, then once the end of both summers, 1979 and 1999 are on the horizon, the pace picks up as Jackie in her identity of a young woman and then when she is twenty years older, relives the bittersweetness of the remaining days. I enjoyed the air of mystery that has a major presence throughout the story as much as the complex, nuanced characters. Waiting to discover what that mystery thing might turn out to be added intrigue to this compelling tale. When Jackie finally faces her issues and the past head-on, it facilitates a marvellous ending for this whole emotional journey. Very highly recommended. A special thank you to Graydon House and the author for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request, received via NetGalley. This review is my unbiased opinion.

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