Big thanks to the publisher for having me as part of the blog tour for Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan!
|Pub Date: 6-29-21|
Adult - Historical Fiction
It's the summer of 1979 and everything that Jackie Pierce knows is about to change. After her father remarries, Jackie is sent to stay with her musician uncle and family at his huge estate on the Californian coast called The Sandcastle. The first few days Jackie mostly keeps to herself, despite being surrounded by musicians, artists, and other free spirits who call the compound home, until she and her cousin Willa strike up a fast friendship. The pair are quickly attached at the hip and spend all their moments at the beach or getting lost in the woods surrounding the house. Until one night, tragedy strikes and Willa disappears without a trace.Twenty years have passed, and Jackie finds herself once again back at The Sandcastle but this time now as its owner. Jackie has no desire to keep the estate and intends to clean it up to sell it, but her plans are put on hold when she finds out her estranged aunt had agreed to let a group of musicians record an anniversary tribute album to her late uncle. With the estate once again full of music and people, Jackie can't help but be transported back to that fateful summer and all the memories that come with it. When Jackie stumbles upon clues that prove there's more to Willa's disappearance, she must face dark secrets she's spent years burying if she hopes to uncover what truly happened.
This had a lot going for it. Stunning cover? Check. Beachy, 1970's setting? Check. Family mystery to unravel? Check. Yet I still found this lacking a bit. I think Doan's writing was atmospheric and easy to fall into (I read the entire thing in almost one sitting) and did a nice job transporting you to both periods. This is told in two different timelines, and while that can get a little jumbled if not done well, that wasn't the case here. Everything flowed well and I liked following Jackie both as a teen in the '79 and an adult in '99. I was very into discovering what happened to her cousin Willa, but I will say it was easy to figure out and I knew where the plot was going halfway through. Because I knew how the mystery was going to play out, the ending didn't have as much of an impact on me, but I still enjoyed how Doan wrapped it up. This isn't one where I felt any strong connection to the characters or storyline, but it's still entertaining enough and would be a good beach read.