I adore Lucinda Riley’s writing … from Hothouse Flower through The Girl on the Cliff and The Light Behind The Window, then the sublime The Midnight Rose, and the last, The Italian Girl. This new release is every bit as perfect, total escapism between the covers, another world that envelops you from the first page to the last.
As a series, the concept is wonderful – seven sisters mourning the death of their adoptive father at his sumptuous home on the shores of Lake Geneva, finding the armillary sphere in the garden, and each given a set of coordinates for where they came from together with a letter. The scene set, this book follows the story of the eldest daughter Maia and follows her to Rio de Janeiro where she searches for the secrets of her past.
She uncovers the story of Izabela Bonafacio through the discovery of some letters – a wonderful story, moving to Paris and back to Rio at the time of the construction of the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the story of a wonderful love affair tinged with all the sadness of loss and the burden of duty. Maia is a strong character, with secrets of her own, and her modern story is every bit as engaging as that of Izabela – well, almost, because Izabela’s story is simply enthralling, set against a mesmerising historical backdrop. Lucinda Riley writes quite beautifully with perfectly drawn characters, vivid descriptions and an exceptional talent for telling a story.
I sometimes have a bit of a problem with big books. In my younger days I can remember weighing down my holiday suitcases with the latest blockbusters, believing that the bigger the book, the better the story. Then my tastes changed – I started to avoid them, finding anything over 400 pages too daunting. Lucinda Riley’s wonderful books have totally changed my mind again – this book might be enormous, but the pages turned so quickly and thoroughly enjoyably that I never really noticed. And I’m so excited by the fact that this is only the first book in a planned series of seven – I can hardly wait for the next, particularly as this book ends with a tantalising glimpse of Ally’s story to follow. Overall, this is storytelling on a wide-screen cinematic scale, and absolutely perfect.
My thanks to publishers Pan Macmillan and to the author (and her PA Olivia) for my copy, and for the opportunity to be there at the beginning of what promises to be an exceptional reading experience. The Seven Sisters was published in hardback and for Kindle on 6 November – the paperback will follow in April 2015.
Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland and wrote her first book aged 24. Her novel Hothouse Flower (also called The Orchid House) was selected for the UK’s Richard and Judy Bookclub in 2011 and went on to sell over 2 million copies worldwide and become a New York Times Bestseller. She is a multiple New York Times bestselling author an has topped the bestseller charts in four European countries. Her other bestselling novels include The Girl on the Cliff, The Light Behind the Window (also called The Lavender Garden), The Midnight Rose and The Italian Girl. Lucinda’s books are translated into 25 languages and published in 36 countries. She lives with her husband and four children on the North Norfolk coast in England and in the South of France.
In addition to her excellent website, Lucinda has set up another dedicated to this new series, with some fascinating links. You might like to take a look at this video where she talks about where her inspiration came from.