Jane Green on The Sunshine Sisters
Best-selling author Jane Green shares the story of how her own family experience inspired her new book, The Sunshine Sisters.
I have spent my whole life wanting sisters, and a large part of the early years deeply resenting the annoying younger brother I got instead. I was very happy as an only child, and (apparently), had large lungs that were exercised regularly in a bid to win my parents’ attention. Imagine my disgust when another baby came along, who was more peaceful and easy, with whom my parents fell completely in love.
He was the golden boy. I was nice to him in front of my parents, then swiped handfuls of his hair when their backs were turned. I was an expert at the subtle wrist burn when no-one was looking. I stopped tormenting him when, as a teenager, he suddenly grew taller than me and fought back.
I went away to university, and decided to try liking my little brother. Now, all these years later, he is one of my most favorite people on the planet, and I can’t believe I didn’t see what my parents saw from that first instant. He is clever, and charming, and funny. He and his gorgeous wife make me laugh more than anyone else I know, and my only regret in living in America, is that I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I would like.
But I still sometimes think it would have been nice to have sisters. And so, like any good novelist, I created the sisters I wanted. Nell, who comes across as superior but is in fact emotionally closed; Meredith who is running around trying to please everyone, and Lizzy, who is selfish, self-absorbed, hugely talented, and impossible not to love.
The Sunshine Sisters
and their difficult, narcissistic mother, Ronni Sunshine, swept me away during the writing of this book. The only thing I have yet to do, is send a copy to my brother…
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The Sunshine Girls is a moving story of love, loss and family by Sunday Times bestselling author, Jane Green.
Ronni Sunshine publicly is a glamorous, successful, dramatic Hollywood actress. Privately, she is self-absorbed, angry, and a disinterested, narcissistic mother. Now in her seventies, Ronni has had strange symptoms for a while, but has refused to believe her diagnosis: she has ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disease. There is no cure.
Her three adult daughters – Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy – are largely estranged, both from her, and from each other. All are going through crises of their own. As their mother’s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears, they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all . . .