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Saturday, 24 July 2021

#20BooksOfSummer2021 SONGS IN URSA MAJOR by EMMA BRODIE #BookReview


This is Book 9 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021.


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?





If you loved Daisy Jones & The Six, then you're going to enjoy this one! It has the same behind the scenes vibes of the music industry, this time in the late '60's/early 70's, and while it didn't quite get me in the emotional way that Daisy did, then it did a wonderful job of transporting me back to a different world - there's also a Spotify Playlist linked to the book so if you get a chance to listen while you read I would highly recommend it! I loved it and it made for the perfect reading music!

This is a story partly based on the relationship between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, and all centres around a folk festival in 1969 where the star of the show - Jesse Reid - is a late cancellation due to an serious accident, and a local band, led by Jane Quinn, get to stand in and steal the show and this sets her off on a journey of success and fame, alongside the downsides which come with that!

Jane is every bit not your 'diva' - she's hardworking and struggling for money, so when the chance to help out nurse Jesse back to full health she jumps at the chance, and he's blown over by her being normal around him! For someone with big success, that's a rarity. The more time they spend together, the closer they become and he begins to advise them on songs and gets them started in the music business.

I loved their chats together, how they opened up to one another and it was also striking how different she was treated in the music industry compared to her male contemporaries.

There's partying, sex, drugs & rock'n'roll and that's when we get to see different sides to these characters and cracks begin to appear in the relationship - and just how easily people can be replaced in the music industry if they don't play along and 'do as they're told'! There's also a look back at family secrets that added to the mix!

I really enjoyed the characters and the music scene setting and look forward to reading more from this author in the future!


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