Faded B-movie star Ronni Sunshine has spent a lifetime alienating her three daughters. Now that she’s on her deathbed, she calls them home. But will they come?
The sisters have drifted away not only from their mother, but also from each other. Nell, the oldest, has always avoided her mother’s melodramatic, unpredictable rages. Now 33, her journey has included choosing teenage single-motherhood, and she’s raised her son, River, on a farm where she has found not only meaningful work as the manager, but also a compassionate mother-figure in Theodora, the owner. Meredith, the middle daughter, who bore the brunt of Ronni’s wrath, has learned to play the role of people-pleaser. Having fled to London and become an accountant, she still struggles with feelings of inadequacy, which she self-medicates with emotional eating and dysfunctional romantic relationships. The spoiled youngest, Lizzy, turned into a wild child, experimenting with boys, drugs, and alcohol, but has recently found success as a pop-up supper-club restaurateur. That success, however, may come at a price given her instant attraction to her married business partner. As Green (Falling, 2016, etc.) shifts back and forth among the sisters’ and Ronni’s perspectives, she sifts through the emotional wreckage of women inflicting wounds on themselves and each other. She convincingly depicts a frayed family with a keen eye for the details that snap the threads of sisterhood: Lizzy unleashes a verbal lashing when Nell denies her request to use her farm for a dinner, Meredith recoils from Nell’s plea for help with her financial report, Lizzy (and Ronni) humiliate Meredith over her boring fiance. Once back home, the sisters begin to forge new bonds by sharing their different memories of Ronni, who by this time has squirreled away a lethal collection of OxyContin pills to end her pain. Have they come home too late?
Another perfect beach read for sisters, estranged or not.