Monday, 19 March 2018

Book Review: The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

Book: The Seven Sisters

Author: Lucinda Riley 

Pages: 641

Read on: Kindle 

Read in: 5-6 hours over 2 days 

Plot Summary: Maia D'Aplièse and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, 'Atlantis' - a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva - having been told that their beloved father, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died. 

Maia and her sisters were all adopted by him as babies and, discovering he has already been buried at sea, each of them is handed a tantalising clue to their true heritage - a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of where her story began . . . 

Eighty years earlier, in the Belle Epoque of Rio, 1927, Izabela Bonifacio's father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is working on a statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela - passionate and longing to see the world - convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. 

There, at Paul Landowski's studio and in the heady, vibrant cafés of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

General Thoughts: Lucinda Riley writes interesting historical fiction. We've read and reviewed two of her books on the blog before- Midnight Rose and The Light Behind The Window/ Lavender Garden. The former we loved and the latter not so much. So, when we were hearing good things about a new book series written by Lucinda Riley, we were curious to see what these books were about and whether we'd want to read them or not. The premise sounded interesting and so, we read the first book and then another and then yet another.. So, let's jump into the review, shall we? 

Things I Liked: 
  • The world building in this book is fantastic. This book is the first in the series of seven (yes! seven) books and so, there is a fair amount of time spent describing the world in which the D'Aplièse sisters grow up- on a beautiful, fairytale-like mansion on the shores of Lake Gevena. We also get to learn whatever the sisters know (very little as it turns out) about Pa Salt- the enigmatic man who adopted and raised them. 
  • This book follows the journey of Maia- the eldest of the sisters- in her quest to find her past. The past, which happens to quite interesting. Maia's past is connected to the construction of Christ, the Redeemer in Rio in the late 1920s and that world has been built so well. Riley does a great job in researching the society of that time. 
  • I really enjoyed reading about Izabella- her desire to see the world, experience life- and her being forced to marry "well". Isabella's father- an immigrant, who is extremely wealthy, but who craves acceptance by Rio's old school, old world elite- gets her wedding fixed to a reputed old family that has come on hard times. The author brings out Izabella's quiet desperation really well. 
  • I also liked the time spent by Izabella in Paris, the depiction of the bohemian art district, her falling in love with Laurent- knowing that they won't have a future together 
  • The present day events were also very nicely done as Maia meets new people in Rio, the research she does into her family as well as her conversation with her grandmother. It was nice to see her find tangible links to her past as well as form new relationships that will influence her future 
Things I Didn't Like:
  • Nothing specific to this book, but more to the series. The six daughters know very little real stuff about their adoptive father. Like, they are not even sure if he shares the same last name as them! Now, colour me naive, but how can you live your whole life with someone and never ask them about their background or past or what their source of immense wealth is?! 
Rating: 4/5 

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