Author: Emma Brodie
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
Book Description: The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Tall and soft-spoken, with eyes blue as stone-washed denim, Jesse Reid’s intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show.
Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid’s place at the festival, it almost doesn’t seem real. But Jane plants her bare feet on the Main Stage and delivers the performance of a lifetime, stopping Jesse’s disappointed fans in their tracks: A star is born.
Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry’s sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair. On tour with Jesse, Jane is so captivated by the giant stadiums, the late nights, the wild parties, and the media attention, that she is blind-sided when she stumbles on the dark secret beneath Jesse’s music. With nowhere to turn, Jane must reckon with the shadows of her own past; what follows is the birth of one of most iconic albums of all time.
Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: This is the book I wanted Daisy Jones and the Six to be. The start of this story begin in 1969, when Jane Quinn and her band the Breakers is given the opportunity to perform on the main stage of the local Folk Fest when the infamous Jesse Reid has an accident and cannot make it. They have the performance of a lifetime and suddenly are given a record contract and a chance to be the opening act for Jesse’s tour going forward.
Prior to that tour Jane help Jesse heal along with her aunt and they develop a close bond that turns into love. On the tour, Jane shines, but certain cracks with her band and Jesse start to come through. And ultimately when Jesse’s biggest secret comes to light, Janes world starts to tumble down.
Jane is given a second chance and writes the album of a lifetime, Songs in Ursa Major, which becomes critically acclaimed. However, this is not what Jane imagines and she finds herself in a precarious position.
This is a story of a troubled woman, haunted by her history of her mother and her relationship with Jessie that seems to be ever evolving. I absolutely loved this book so much. The story flowed beautifully and Jane gave me all the feels, and I wanted to see her conquer her past. This is a beautiful story of a woman trying to overcome her past so she can be in the present. Just read this one, you won’t regret it.
Thank you NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.