Title: Songs in Ursa Major
Author: Emma Brodie/ Narrated by Kirsten Sieh
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Romance
Goodreads Rating: 3.98
A scintillating debut from a major new voice in fiction, Songs in Ursa Major is a love story set in 1969, alive with music, sex, and the trappings of fame.
Raised on an island off Massachusetts by a mother who wrote songs for famous musicians, Jane Quinn is singing in her own band before she’s old enough to even read music. When folk legend Jesse Reid hears about Jane’s performance at the island’s music festival, a star is born–and so is a passionate love affair: they become inseparable when her band joins his on tour. Wary of being cast as his girlfriend–and haunted by her mother’s shattered ambitions– Jane shields her relationship from the public eye, but Jesse’s star power pulls her into his orbit of fame. Caught up in the thrill of the road and the profound and lustful connection she has with Jesse, Jane is blind-sided by the discovery she makes about the dark secret beneath his music. Heartbroken and blackballed by the industry, Jane is now truly on her own: to make the music she loves, and to make peace with her family 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’d like to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for approving me for an ARC of this book.
Next to reading music is my second passion. As a pianist and music teacher I’m always keen to read books about music, throw in some historical fiction and you’ve got me, hook, line and sinker.
Songs in Ursa Major is a quiet, steady paced read. It’s not all singing and dancing but there is a lot of heart and passion to the story. The story starts in 1969 where Jane Quinn and her band, The Breakers, fill in for a well known singer. From there The Breakers hit their break and Jane’s love affair with Jesse Reid begins.
Jane and Jesse’s story was complicated from the start. There was passion and fire to their love affair but trying to reach stardom on the arm of a famous singer was hard for Jane. It was clear very early on that Jane had balls and she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Her confidence and determination is what helped her through the hard choices she made in the music industry and I admired her integrity.
Standing behind Jane was a formidable force of women. From Elsie to Grace and Maggie, the Quinn women certainly knew how to handle themselves. They worked hard and supported each other through anything and every thing. When Charlie’s story came to light the novel took a completely different turn, her final scenes with Jane brought a lump to my throat. Her story showed how deep these loyalties lied and what they would do to protect each other.
There was a moment when I started to doubt Jane and I was worried that the music industry had finally moulded her. Of course I was quickly proven wrong and I found myself grinning from ear to ear with her last performance.
Emma Brodie’s writing is not only beautiful it is lyrical. I was mesmerised by Jane’s story and could not stop till I had indulged every last word on the page. This book deserves all the stars and so much more.