About the Book:
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?
I loved this bittersweet, poignant story! I was intrigued by the gorgeous cover and the description of a loosely based fictional account of the relationship between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor.
I adore any book set in the world of music. This story inspired feelings of nostalgia and I found myself thinking about the characters after I finished the book. That to me is the sign of a great story.
Jane Quinn is a new singer and songwriter who performs at a music festival after the headliner, the famous Jesse Reid, is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. She is incredibly talented and beautiful and she and Jesse fall in love. But the 1970s music scene was not a kind world and Jane struggles to keep their relationship under wraps. It’s hard enough for a female artist to succeed. Jane doesn’t want the burden of their private lives being made public.
“She feared that, if the world knew her as Jesse’s love interest before she’d ever opened her mouth on a national stage, that was all she’d ever be.”
This wonderful debut novel gives a behind the scenes look into the obstacles facing young artists in the early 1970s. Drugs, blatant misogyny and the power of the record labels were just a few of the danger zones. Although I could have done without some of the very large cast of supporting characters in this book, the author succeeded in writing a very nostalgic book that’s part coming of age and part romance. The audiobook narrator did a terrific job with all of the voices and especially with Jane and Jesse. If you like ‘A Star is Born’ or ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’, you’ll love this book.