Book Review - The Shadow Sister - Star’s Story

by Lucinda Riley (Macmillan) ISBN 978-1-4472-8860-2 

This is the third book in The Seven Sisters series, a family saga that begins with the death of the mysterious billionaire known as Pa Salt. His six adopted daughters, the D'Aplièse sisters, are each left a letter, an object, and a set of coordinates, which will take them on a journey to discover their true heritage. 

Lucinda Riley is a wonderful storyteller, and with Star’s story, the threads of past and present are skilfully woven as Star begins to discover herself and finally steps out of her sister CeCe’s shadow. Her journey takes her to an evocative old bookstore in London with a suitably brooding owner, and from there to a country estate in the Lake District. Along the way, Edwardian history comes alive with Lucinda’s rich descriptions and her brilliant use of real characters like Beatrix Potter and Alice Keppel. 

At over 600 pages, it seems a little intimidating at first. But Lucinda definitely holds your attention, taking you deeper into her characters’ lives, convincing you you’re going one way, and then surprising you with yet one more reveal that changes everything.  

I loved her characters, the richness of the settings and that feeling of being swept away by a storyline that keeps expanding. I just wish the next one was a little closer on the horizon! 

Judy Ward


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Book Review - The Storm Sister

by Lucinda Riley (MacMillan) ISBN: 9781447288565 

This is the second in a series where Pa Salt, reminiscent of GUM in Ballet Shoes, collects babies and sends them home – to his "palace" in Geneva. 

Now Pa Salt is deceased (maybe), leaving each daughter clues about her real parentage. Ally is The Storm Sister, an accomplished sailor and musician. Her clues take her to Norway and we discover more about her passions and possible ancestry, including Edvard Grieg, and the conception of the music behind Peer Gynt. 

The history is well researched and the story flips between 1894 and 2007 without missing a beat. However, the dialogue started jarring with me. Nothing was ringing true, and I found myself looking for errors, not reading for pleasure. The characters seemed trite, too many clichés and everything fitted too neatly into the predictable plot. 

Perhaps churning out a book a year, each starting in the same point but told from a different perspective is too much for a busy author? I enjoyed The Seven Sisters, but these 700 pages were a significant time investment that showed a poor return in enjoyment value. 

Bev Bouwer


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The Light Behind the Window

by Lucinda Riley (Pan) ISBN 9781447218425


The cover promised a breath-taking and intense story of love, war and above all, forgiveness. I was disappointed. It is written without soul.


The story is set in France and England and moves between 1943 and the present.  During the war, Connie is trained as an agent and sent to Paris. Instead of working for the resistance, she ends up living with an aristocratic family and looking after the blind Sophia.


The preconceived ideas of the roles of men and women irritated me most. Sophia is ‘not equipped by birth to deal with what was happening to her’ and the brother is the hero with clenching jaw lines and hard passionate kisses.


The woman in the present, Emilie, also from an upper-class family, is like her distant relative depicted as vulnerable and helpless. She is the sole heir of an estate in the South of France. She is lured into marriage by a greedy, but dashing Sebastian. His handicapped brother lives in their dilapidated castle close to York. Can it be more clichéd?


Lucinda Riley has sold over 180,000 copies in the UK for her previous book, so there must be a market for this. For me, this book was a waste of time.


Pauline Vijverberg


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