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Songs in Ursa Major

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

By Emma Brodie

A Creative and Captivating Debut Novel with A Spotlight on the 1970’s Music Scene



The sun is setting at the Island Folk Festival on Bayleen Island, Massachusetts. It's the summer of 1969, and the festival crowd is vibrating with anticipation awaiting the appearance of superstar Jesse Reid on the main stage. When organizers announce that Jesse will be unable to play, the crowd becomes angry and turns to leave.

Another band, The Breakers, with lead vocalist Jane Quinn, is thrust on stage and into the spotlight in place of Jesse Reid. They are a young, relatively unknown local band, and this is by far the largest crowd they have ever played for. Nineteen-year-old Jane starts the set with her rendition of Jesse Reid’s best-selling hit, and the crowd is instantly captivated by her amazing voice.

Jane’s life changed forever with that performance that night. She and Jesse coincidentally strike up a relationship fueled by their love of music and their shared sense of loss. Before long, Jane’s band has recorded an album and is hitting the road as the opening act for Jesse’s 1970 tour. When the tour reveals some shocking secrets, Jane is devastated and returns to the island, where she throws herself into her music, creating an album unlike anything else—Songs of Ursa Major.


SONGS IN URSA MAJOR is a delightful read following the rise and fall of Jane Quinn’s frustrating musical career, her emotional family issues, and her volatile relationship with Jesse. The themes of music, mental health, and grief are at center stage.

Author Emma Brodie’s debut novel is captivating. From her detailed descriptions to her intriguing dialog, Brodie has it covered. She skillfully transports us into the 1970’s music industry with a story that is meticulously built and creatively woven.

Brodie’s writing is clear, concise and full of emotion. Jane manages to steal not only Jesse's heart but ours as well throughout the book. Her character is full of moxie, dedication, and strength, particularly when facing a vindictive record producer.

Fans of Daisy Jones and the Six will appreciate SONGS IN URSA MAJOR. Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Knopf

Published June 22, 2021

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