Sunday, 15 April 2018

Book Review: The Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters Book 4) by Lucinda Riley

Book: The Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters Book 4)

Author: Lucinda Riley 

Pages: 702

Read on: Kindle 

Read in: 5.5 hours 

Plot Summary: CeCe D’Aplièse has never felt she fitted in anywhere. Following the death of her father, the elusive billionaire Pa Salt – so-called by the six daughters he adopted from around the globe and named after the Seven Sisters star cluster – she finds herself at breaking point. Dropping out of art college, CeCe watches as Star, her beloved sister, distances herself to follow her new love, leaving her completely alone. 

In desperation, she decides to flee England and discover her past; the only clues she has are a black-and-white photograph and the name of a woman pioneer who lived in Australia over one hundred years ago. En-route to Sydney, CeCe heads to the one place she has ever felt close to being herself: the stunning beaches of Krabi, Thailand. There amongst the backpackers, she meets the mysterious Ace, a man as lonely as she is and whom she subsequently realizes has a secret to hide. 

A hundred years earlier, Kitty McBride, daughter of an Edinburgh clergyman, is given the opportunity to travel to Australia as the companion of the wealthy Mrs McCrombie. In Adelaide, her fate becomes entwined with Mrs McCrombie’s family, including the identical, yet very different, twin brothers: impetuous Drummond, and ambitious Andrew, the heir to a pearling fortune.

When CeCe finally reaches the searing heat and dusty plains of the Red Centre of Australia, she begins the search for her past. As something deep within her responds to the energy of the area and the ancient culture of the Aboriginal people, her creativity reawakens once more. With help from those she meets on her journey, CeCe begins to believe that this wild, vast continent could offer her something she never thought possible: a sense of belonging, and a home. 

Things I Liked: 
  • I have been enjoying making my way through Lucinda Riley's The Seven Sisters series, where each book focuses on the journey of one sister to find out about her birth family. In the process, we also get to travel back in time to find out more about her ancestors, who have a direct connection with the sister. So, these books are a good mix of historical fiction + mystery + romance. The previous books in the series- The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister and The Shadow Sister (have not reviewed this yet, but will do so soon)- click on each to read our reviews. 
  • This book focuses on the journey of CeCe- my least favourite of the sisters up until this book. CeCe (to me) had always seemed very brusque, rude, ungrateful and slightly creepy and controlling. Her close relationship with Star (to me) seemed borderline incestuous and creepy! She didn't get Star go to Cambridge because she didn't get in, she resented Star finding love and familial connections in The Shadow Sister and she, generally, seemed cold. So, TBH, I was not that kicked about reading this book. However, this was a pretty interesting read and helped me understand CeCe a lot better. 
  • I like books that take me on a nice little trip around the world. The Pearl Sister starts in Thailand and then moves to Australia- to the Outback, to Alice Springs and to Broome. The book also takes us back to Western Australia at the beginning of the 20th century- to the heart of the pearling industry in Broome. We get to learn how that business worked and the mix of ethnicities of people involved in the trade. All of this was very well researched and interesting. 
  • I liked Kitty McBride's journey- from a simple Church Minister's daughter to a woman, who ended up running a pearling business in the early 20th century. She was not a relatable character (for me, at any rate) and I couldn't understand some key life decisions that she made, but given her context and the era in which she lived, those made sense, I guess. 
  • This book also focuses on the lives, exploitation (but not in very great details) and the beautiful art of the Aboriginal people of Australia. I loved reading about Aboriginal art and artistes, the story behind their art as well as how their techniques evolved. I also liked how CeCe found herself evolve as an artiste once she reached the land of her ancestors. 

Things I Didn't Like: 
  • The author wasted the first 30% of the book focused on a story that had nothing to do with CeCe's past! I didn't care for Ace because he is not the romantic interest and I don't see why we had to be subjected to CeCe and Ace's interactions for about a third of the book, when his story has nothing to do with the core premise of the book! This is a 702 page book and the real story does not even start until the 35% mark! A bit frustrating! 
Rating: 3.5/5 

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