A Star is Born: Read our Review of Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

A Star is Born: Read our Review of Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

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 the most iconic albums of all time.

Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, and 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?

Loosely based on the real-life relationship between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, Songs in Ursa Major sets out to take this relationship, fictionalise it, and turn it into a heartfelt exploration of the 70’s music industry with a blossoming romance at its heart.

Rife with sex, drugs, and most importantly rock and roll, author Emma Brodie brings to life the heady haze of the 70s. But Jane’s rise to fame isn’t easy, with Brodie offering readers an insider’s look into the problematic aspects of the music industry, including misogyny and drug addiction.

Emma Brodies Songs in Ursa Major is a heartfelt musical story, set against the stunning backdrop of the 1970’s. Full of heart and hope, this is the perfect read for fans of Daisy Jones and the Six and A Star is Born.


Music, Fame and Love: Read an Extract from Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Review | Extract

20 July 2021

Music, Fame and Love: Read an Extract from Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

    Publisher details

    Songs In Ursa Major
    Emma Brodie
    07 July, 2021


    THE SUMMER OF 1969. From the moment Jane Quinn steps barefoot onto the main stage at Island Folk festival, her golden hair glinting, her voice soaring into the summer dusk, a star is born – and so is a passionate love story. Jane’s band hits the road with none other than Jesse Reid, the musician whose bright blue eyes are setting hearts alight everywhere. And as the summer streaks by in a haze of crowds, wild nights and magenta sunsets, Jane is pulled into the orbit of Jesse’s star. But Jesse’s rise could mean Jane’s fall. And when she discovers a dark secret beneath his music, she picks up her guitar and writes her heartache into the album that could make or break her: Songs in Ursa Major. Set against the heady haze of the 70s and alive with music, sex and sun-soaked hedonism, SONGS IN URSA MAJOR is an unforgettable debut and the soundtrack to a love story like no other.
    Emma Brodie
    About the author

    Emma Brodie

    Emma Brodie is an Executive Editor at Little Brown’s Voracious imprint. In her ten years in book publishing, she’s worked at Trident Media Group, William Morrow, and Clarkson Potter, where she authored over twenty gift books and games. Emma is a longtime contributor to HuffPost and a faculty member at Catapult, Co. Songs in Ursa Major is her debut novel. 

    Books by Emma Brodie


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