For most of my adult reading life, Jane Green has been my go-to author when I’m in the mood for escapism. From The Patchwork Marriage to Falling, there’s not a novel of hers I haven’t adored, and when I recently interviewed her on my podcast about the books she’s take with her to a desert island, it was a true highlight of my career so far. And so, when Jane announced during lockdown that she was writing a new novel – this time set in Morocco – and her first since 2017, I eagerly awaited the release of Sister Stardust by Jane Green.
A unique take on historical fiction, Sister Stardust by Jane Green promised to be slightly different from her previous books, and, the day after speaking to Jane, I began it.
Sister Stardust by Jane Green Book Review
While vastly different from her other books given its exotic, Middle Eastern setting, Sister Stardust is a refreshing take on what Jane Green does best – which is penning a highly readable, transportive tale, rich with a sense of setting and a likeable cast of characters. Her first novel inspired by a true story, in Sister Stardust, Jane Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty from a forgotten chapter of the swinging ’60s.
The story opens when newly widowed Claire finds her box of memories from the 1960s, while rooting through her attic with her grown daughter Tally, which takes her back to a magical time that changed her life forever.
What follows is Claire’s recount of a sheltered existence that began when she was a young girl in Dorset, but moved to the more glamorous streets of London in the wake of her mother’s death, following an argument with her father’s new wife. In London, the post-war years were in full swing, and Claire soon finds herself embracing a new identity as she throws herself into a life less ordinary where underground bars, free-flowing drugs are glamorous friends swiftly becomes the norm.
And when, one evening, the chance to travel to Morocco with her new friends arises, she immediately agrees, and Claire – now transformed to Cece – quickly falls under the spell of charismatic Talitha Getty and her husband Paul.
Living in the Getty’s sprawling riad, is everything Cece had dreamed of while living in Dorset, and she soon becomes accustomed to vibrant Marrakesh, where a steady slew of glamorous visitors and frequent drug-fuelled parties with drugs, sex and alcohol were the dish of the day. But when a tragic accident happens, Cece leaves behind the decadent and dream-like state of colourful Marrakesh, to resume a semi-normal life in London.
A beautifully told tale that is nostalgic, evocative, and glamorous to boot, Sister Stardust by Jane Green is vivid and vibrant storytelling at its very best.
Buy Sister Stardust from Bookshop.org, Bookshop UK or Book Depository.
Sister Stardust by Jane Green Summary
Claire grew up in a small town, far from the glitz and glamour of London. On the cusp of adulthood, she yearns for the adventure and independence of a counterculture taking root across the world.
When she’s offered the chance to start anew in Morocco, in a palace where famous artists and musicians — even the Rolling Stones — have been known to visit, she seizes the chance. Arriving in Marrakesh, she’s quickly swept up in a heady world of music, drugs and communal living. And Talitha Getty, socialite wife of a famous oil heir, seems to preside over the whole scene. As Claire is pulled into her orbit, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.
I loved reading about Jane Green bidding a nostalgic farewell to her family haven.
Jane Green Author Bio
The author of eighteen New York Times bestsellers and nineteen USA TODAY bestsellers, Jane Green is a former journalist in the UK and a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York. Her many novels include Jemima J, The Beach House, Falling, The Sunshine Sisters and, most recently, The Friends We Keep, and she has published one cookbook, Good Taste.
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