The Pursuit of Love
This was the novel modeled on Nancy Mitford’s own aristocratic, eccentric family, and I read it over and over, wanting to plunge into the pages and be part of this mad family at Alconleigh, their mad, rambling Gloucestershire estate.
This is Where I Leave You
Another of my favorites, where a family, with all their old wounds and rivalries, come together to sit shiva for the patriarch of the family. It’s funny, moving, poignant, and enormously astute.
Louisa May Alcott
It is still modern, still relevant, still the family I always aspired to have, and the bantering and love between the sisters was something I thought about often when writing The Sunshine Sisters.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
J. Ryan Stradal
This is an immersive, lovely novel, filled with wonderful food, and a woman who carves out a successful career for herself doing supper clubs. I absolutely borrowed from this, when I gave my character Lizzy the pop-up supper clubs, although I also gave her all my design quirks—come to my garden for dinner one summer, and you may as well have stepped into one of Lizzy’s farm supper clubs.
The Sunshine Sisters
The Sunshine Sisters is the story of three sisters who grew up with a self-absorbed, narcissistic, selfish mother, and as a result, not only grew apart from her, but from each other. When she is diagnosed with a terminal disease, she calls them home to heal her relationship with them, and more importantly, enable them to again find the closeness they once had as little girls.
I grew up on a diet of Little Women, Little House on the Prairie and What Katy Did, along with a smattering of Nancy Mitford. All I ever wanted was a bunch of wayward sisters, which is perhaps why I have written a number of books that focus on what I didn’t have—if I couldn’t have it in real life, I could certainly create it in my imagination.
These are some of the books that, one way or another, inspired The Sunshine Sisters.
Author Photo: © Tom McGovern