California Golden


Two sisters navigate the thrilling early days of California surf culture in this dazzling saga of ambition, sacrifice, and the tangled ties between mothers and daughters.

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Praise for California Golden

You can practically hear The Beach Boys singing ‘California Girls’ … This sun-soaked novel is wonderfully awash in the music, television, and fashion of the ’60s.
Kirkus Reviews

Melanie Benjamin pairs the surf culture of the Beach Boys with the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll of Daisy Jones & the Six.

With charm and nostalgia… Benjamin’s novel shows what the sun-kissed highlight reels so often missed.

It’s rare to find such raw, honest sympathy for human beings and their capacity for mistakes and redemption…. a breath of bracing salt air.
—Author Beatriz Williams

A gripping story… California Golden takes readers on an emotional, page-turning ride.
—Author Elyssa Friedland

Left me breathless. The Donnelly women, perfect in their imperfections, will stay with you long after the last page.
—Author Shelby Van Pelt
A superb job…. the perfect story for readers who want to get lost in an emotional novel about breaking barriers and being a family.
—Author Rachel Hanna

As an armchair historian, I’ve always been drawn to stories from the past, stories that still resonate today—stories we may not know or remember. Deeply personal stories that link the past with the present, because history only comes alive when we remember that it was made by real people, people just like us. This is why I write historical fiction; because facts are for the historian but emotions and imagination are the province of the novelist.

I hope you enjoy this site, and make sure to visit the “behind the scenes” pages of each of my books for additional tidbits!




MARCH 21, 7 PM
Urbana Free Library
Conversation with Melanie Benjamin
Register here

MAY 14, 7 PM
Bay Country Library
An evening with Melanie Benjamin
Location TBD; info here

MAY 15, 6 PM
West Bloomfield Public Library
4600 Walnut Lake Road
West Bloomfield, MI

More events to come; please check back soon!

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