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?
My Thoughts: This was another really good book with a storyline in the music industry. I was a big fan of Daisy Jones and the Six, and even though this book is very different in structure and story from that one, I still kept thinking of it as well. This one had a more traditional structure in the telling of the story, but it also dealt with the difficulties of being a female during that time period in the music industry. If I had the talent, I always thought I would have love to be a singer or dancer, but after reading these books, I’m not so sure. Although women working in a man’s world have always had struggles, I think the struggles portrayed here were particularly difficult. Of course drugs were also a part of the story and seem to be a consistent component of the music world. The characters were strong and the story was compelling. It’s hard to believe that this was a debut for this author. I’d recommend this one, and I’ll be on the lookout for this author’s next book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
- Publisher : Knopf (June 22, 2021)
- Publication date : June 22, 2021
- Print length : 336 pages