It has been a strange time in the UK. A week of new prime ministers, a farewell to our long serving queen and the proclamation of the first king for most people alive here today. So its no wonder that I am a bit behind on my book reviews!
The book unfolds in August 1983. It is the day of Nina Riva’s annual end of summer party. They are always a huge event and it’s a place where local Malibu waitresses rub shoulders with all of the Hollywood glitterati. And this year is no different, except that by midnight this party will be completely out of control. By the morning the Riva mansion will be completely consumed by flames and Malibu will be burning.
If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll remember that I really liked Taylor Jenkins Reid’s earlier book Daisy Jones and the Six even though I had some issues with the style and format of that story. In some ways Malibu Rising shares a similar sense of being a documentary of real people and feels like a recounting of an actual family drama. All of the members of the Riva family are fully fleshed people who leap off the pages at you – warts and all. Nina is a talented surfer and supermodel, Jay is a championship surfer and their brother Hud is a renowned sport photographer. All three are adored by their youngest sister Kit. And of course, they are all the children of world famous singer Mick Riva.
Malibu Rising intertwines the story of June and Mick Riva and their family throughout the sixties and seventies as the children grow up. Mick himself is a habitual womaniser and a fairly unlikeable character. His meteoric rise in the music business is played out against the family that largely get left behind. June is a fighter who despite everything really loved Mick but is heartbroken by his repeated betrayals. I was expecting this book to be fluffy escapism and really wasn’t expecting to get quite so invested in the fate of the Riva family.
As an added extra there is even a little guest appearance from a certain Carrie Soto. Here playing a small part as the extramarital paramour of Nina’s husband. I’m now quickly adding Carrie Soto is Back to my reading pile!
While Malibu Rising may not be to everyone’s taste the heady mixture of the surf culture from Point Break and the hedonistic music industry of the nineteen seventies and eighties made this a must read for me. The perfect book to end the summer with.
UK Publication date: May 27 2021. 366 pages.
Prolific reader, enthusiastic theatre and movie-goer and ex-Olivier Awards judge who spent twenty years working in the music industry in London. Sharing my house with a gorgeous cockapoo called Harry who has taken over completely.
I love sharing my favourite books with friends - nearly always spoiler-free as I hate reading a synopsis of the whole book in other reviews.