Title: The Seven Sisters
Author: Lucinda Riley
Series: The Seven Sisters, #1
Narrator: Emily Lucienne
Published: May 2015, HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books / Atria Books
Length: 18 hours 27 minutes / 480 pages
Source: Personal copy via Audible / Publisher via HFVBT
Internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley returns with THE SEVEN SISTERS, the first novel in a spellbinding new series (seven books in all) inspired by the ancient myth of the Seven Sisters of Pleiades. THE SEVEN SISTERS takes readers from the shores of Lake Geneva to modern day Rio de Janeiro to bohemian Paris of the 1920s in a sweeping saga of passion, sacrifice, and the enduring power of art.
Upon the death of their wealthy, enigmatic father, Maia D’Apliese and her sisters convene at their family home, a secluded estate on the shores of Lake Geneva. Each of the sisters had been adopted at birth from a different part of the globe. Maia, the eldest, is the first to learn of their adoptive father’s death. Confusion is added to her grief when the sisters — Maia, the beauty; Ally, the leader; Star, the peacemaker; CeCe, the pragmatist; Tiggy, the nurturer; and Electra, the fireball – gather to hear the reading of the will. Their father has left each of his daughters a simple clue about her birthplace.
Until now, Maia has constructed her life so that she does not have to leave the safety of the family nest. But spurred by her father’s final bequest, Maia embarks on a journey to Rio de Janeiro to discover the truth of her origins. In Rio, Maia is accompanied by Floriano Quintelas, a novelist and amateur historian, who is intrigued to discover that Maia is apparently descended from the Aires Cabrals, an aristocratic Portuguese family who have been prominent in the country for the past two centuries. Together, they delve into her complex family history, a quest that is helped by their discovery of the crumbling mansion where an elderly woman – Maia’s biological grandmother — is on the verge of death. When the old woman’s caretaker secretly slips Maia a stack of old letters, an astonishing family history unfolds.
My thoughts: This is the first in Lucinda Riley's new series and I was so excited to get my hands on it. I've long been a fan of her work, ever since reading The Lavender Garden. I find that once I start reading her books, I can't put them down. I am immediately drawn into the stories she creates and this one was certainly no exception!
The idea behind this series is that Pa Salt, who has adopted these six girls from all over the world, has died, and has left the girls clues as to who they are and their birthplace. Now, I know what you are thinking - the series, and first book, is called The Seven Sisters, but I just said six girls - that's the first mystery and has me a bit confused as well. I'm hoping by the end of the series, we know why it's called Seven Sisters and if there really is a seventh sister. But, back to what we do know. These girls are all named after the Seven Sisters of Pleiades. We do meet, albeit briefly, all six girls, though this story is Maia's and that's the focus of this first book.
Once Maia is given her clue, she sets off to Rio and from there the story delves into the dual narrative, of which I am a huge fan. I think Lucinda Riley does it so well. I loved hearing the story of Maia's great-grandmother, Izabela Bonifacio, and became completely absorbed in it. The story takes us from Switzerland to Rio to Paris and the writing is so wonderfully descriptive that I felt as if I were there myself. As Maia learns more about her great-grandmother, she learns more about herself and realizes that there are some secrets that are not meant to be kept.
This was a great first installment in what I think is going to be an amazing series and I cannot wait until the next book comes out. I do wonder if we will continue to see the sisters that we've already read about in the future books, or if once we get their stories, they sort of fade into the background? Maia now knows her history, and has made some changes in her life as a result - will we see that and see how she's adjusting to that those decisions? I wonder... In the meantime, while waiting for book two, I will be picking up a few of Lucinda's backlist books that I have not yet read.
Audio Thoughts: This was a great book to listen to and I absolutely loved Emily Lucienne's narration. It's the first time I've listened to her narrate a book and I'm really hoping she continues to narrate the whole series as I'm thinking I just might continue to listen to this series on audio. I was able to be completely swept up in the story and loved the voices that Emily used for all the characters. I will certainly be checking out what else she has narrated and keeping my fingers crossed that she stays with this series!
About the author: Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland and during her childhood travelled extensively abroad, particularly to the Far East to visit her father.
Moving to London she became an actress working in film, theatre and television. Five years ago she designed and built a house on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand, where her father had purchased land many years before. Her passion for history combined with her love of travel, and Thailand in particular, inspired her to write her novel Hothouse Flower, published by Penguin in November 2010.
She currently lives in Norfolk and France with her husband and four children.
Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtags: #TheSevenSistersBlogTour #HistoricalFiction #LucindaRiley #HFVBTBlogTour).