Lady Sunshine: Book summary and reviews of Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan

Lady Sunshine

A Novel

by Amy Mason Doan

Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan X
Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jun 29, 2021
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

One iconic family. One summer of secrets. The dazzling spirit of 1970s California.

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.


About the Author
Amy Mason Doan is the author of The Summer List and Summer Hours. She earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MA in journalism from Stanford University, and has written for The Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, and Forbes, among other publications. She grew up in Danville, California, and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter.

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

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  1. Several characters note the Sandcastle's isolation, describing it as walled off from time or the modern world. How does this affect Jackie's stay there in 1979? In 1999?
  2. Voyeurism is a major theme in the novel. Why do Jackie and Willa spy from the treehouse? Is it ultimately constructive or destructive? Who else in the book engages in voyeurism, and why? How are their motives different from or similar to Jackie's and Willa's reasons for spying?
  3. Jackie and Willa are opposites in nearly every way, but they idolize each other. Do you think they see each other clearly when they're teenagers? Adults? How do their roles reverse over time?
  4. Jackie is obsessed with ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Amy Mason Doan creates a whole world and mood with her exquisitely crafted novel, Lady Sunshine. It's replete with late-'70s nostalgia, and Doan masterfully renders the lives of musicians and those who are drawn to them, no matter the price. A delicious daydream of a book."—Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author of 28 Summers

"This gorgeous book is part gold-drenched, nostalgic dream, part ingeniously spun mystery, but what I love best is the female friendship at its heart. Loyal, loving, and fiercely true to each other, Jackie and Willa will remind you of the times in your life when friendship was everything, when two girls together could make an entire world." —Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of I'll Be Your Blue Sky

"With a winning combination of lyrical writing and a page-turning plot, Amy Mason Doan chronicles the evolution and mysterious demise of the friendship between two young women at the California estate-cum-commune of a renowned musician. A tone-perfect evocation of the free-spirited late 1970s and a riveting coming-of-age story, Lady Sunshine captures the highs of artistic creation, the dangers of hero worship, and the costs of trying to outrun your past. This sun-dappled book has it all: heart, smarts, and an irresistible musical beat."—Karen Dukess, author of The Last Book Party

"Amy Mason Doan dazzles in this epic story of a family torn apart by secrets. Haunting and vivid, with layered, complex characters and a setting that sparkles with detail, Lady Sunshine will stay with me for a long time."—Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight

"Lady Sunshine is shot through with free love, hope, and all the magic of the '70s, but under the sun and music lie dark secrets. It's a thrilling ride, a beautiful evocation of an era, and a story that will keep readers entranced from the first page to the last."—Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder

"In Lady Sunshine, Amy Mason Doan has crafted an engrossing tale of secrets, memory, music, and the people and places you can never outrun. This novel will transport you to the '70s and summertime magic and a long-overdue reckoning. A fantastic summer read."—Laura Dave, international bestselling author of Eight Hundred Grapes

This information about Lady Sunshine shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Amy Mason Doan Author Biography

Amy Mason Doan grew up in Danville, California and now lives in Portland, Oregon. She has an M.A. in Journalism from Stanford University and a B.A. in English from U.C. Berkeley.

Amy has written for The Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, Forbes, and other publications.

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Link to Amy Mason Doan's Website

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