Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her father, the elusive billionaire, Pa Salt, who adopted Star and her five sisters. After his death he left each sister a clue and a set of co-ordinates to their heritage. Star, keen to step out of the shadow of her sister, CeCe, starts her search and is lead to an antiquarian book shop in London.
A hundred years earlier Flora McNichol leads a happy life in the Lake District looking after her animals and being outdoors and living near her idol Beatrix Potter. When circumstances change she is thrown into London Society and the home of one of London’s most notorious players, Alice Keppel, Flora finds herself a pawn in a game that she has no control over. As the truth comes out, Flora finds answers to questions she has been asking her whole life.
As Star learns more about Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of her sister’s shadow and opening herself to the possibility of love.
The Shadow Sister is the third book in Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters novels, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed, and this didn’t disappoint. Star, is the quietest of the sisters, she has a very close relationship with her sister CeCe, and in this book we see her come into her own. I always love a book with a dual plot line of past and present, I find it keeps my interest, and make me read faster as I want to find out what happens next on each story line. In the past we are privy to the contrasting life of Flora, from the sublime nature of the Lake District, to the elegant drawing rooms and society of London, and in particular to the salon of Alice Keppel, mistress of King Edward VII. Lucinda Riley is brilliant in her writing and bringing both contrasting parts of England to life. In the present the story follows Star in her search for her heritage and how that I turn makes her blossom as an individual and begin to see her potential and live her own life.
Lucinda Riley introduces us to a wonderful cast of characters, both factual and fictional, and all well developed. There are no surplus characters, all contribute to the plot and the life of both Star and Flora McNichol, and help to show their character and its development. Star and her sisters are like fairytale characters being brought up on the Island they refer to as Atlantis, and they have lived a life of privilege, but Lucinda Riley is clever in her writing by making the sisters all seem real and very likeable; they endear themselves to the reader. I also found Flora an interesting character; intelligent, strong, and ahead of her time. I admired that she had principles and stuck to them, even if that meant she had to make sacrifices to her own happiness. The wider cast of characters, bring a variety of emotions to the fore and really enhance the book; the eccentric bookshop owner Orlando, his troubled brother Mouse, the delightful Rory, as well as the factual characters of Alice Keppel, Edward VII and Beatrix Potter.
A common theme in all these books is the importance of family, whether that be your biological family or the one your were brought up in, like the sisters who were brought up by their adopted father Pa Salt. I have to say I admire how Lucinda Riley keeps track of all the different story lines that crossover in these books, it really is a testament to her writing skills, as is her ability to grab your attention and keep it. I should warn you that this is a very immersive book, it literary makes time fly and is very hard to put down. There are plenty of twists and turns in both Star and Flora’s story as the mystery of their connection comes to its conclusion to keep you guessing. The Shadow Sister is a captivating read, full of emotion and detail that will take your breath away. I really can’t praise this, and the others in the series, they truly are my favourite series at the moment, a superb read.
I have previously reviewed The Seven Sisters and The Storm Sister so please take a look in my archives, you can search on my blog.
In October I am privileged to be reviewing The Pearl Sister the fourth in the series and I have an exclusive interview with Lucinda Riley so keep your eyes on my blog.