Books Genre Literary Fiction Romance

The Mystique, Glamour, and Mystery of Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters, Book One by Lucinda Riley

Myra here.

This book, admittedly, is more of a mom-romance-novel (the way my 16 year old girl referred to it when she heard about the plot) than an actual crime and thriller book. However, there are still mysteries here in the story worth digging into, and worth sharing for our current reading theme.

The Seven Sisters

Written byLucinda Riley
Published byPan Books Ltd (first published 2014) ISBN13: 9781447275589 
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

I first learned of this series through a book friend in Litsy who swears by them. There are supposed to be seven books in all, and the fifth one is coming out late this year. When I saw several more people raving about it in her post, I thought I might as well find out for myself what the fuss is about. Lo and behold, when I went for my weekly visit at the library, I found these lovelies, just waiting to be checked out:

I mean, I can not resist chunksters. Plus, they look so pretty and brand new. Naturally, I just had to borrow them – to my husband’s patient consternation (if there is such a thing), who ended up carrying my bag, because you know.. heavy?

When I saw this quote at the beginning of the novel, I thought to myself, it couldn’t be all that bad, could it? I used Wilde’s words in one of my academic book chapters, so I immediately felt a gravitational pull to commit myself to reading, if not the series, at least the first book.

The premise is absorbing. Seven sisters – all adopted by a mysterious millionaire, whom they affectionally called Pa Salt. The sisters come from different parts of the world, their individual origins unknown to them – until their adoptive father, who happens to own an ISLAND in Switzerland, called Atlantis, died. He left them clues to find out their origins, if they so wish, and an inheritance that will guarantee that they will be comfortable for the rest of their lives (and maybe the next one, too).

The first book revolves around the eldest sister, Maia. She is described to be the beauty of the family, but seemed intent on downplaying that fact, for some unbeknownst reason – that will only be revealed somewhere in the end. The clues to her origins and her biological parents led her to Rio de Janeiro. I love how the story has taken me to multiple cities, all very glamorous. Plus, the fact that Maia works as a translator since she knows Portuguese, French – and has just completed a translation for a novelist based in .. guess where? Rio, of course.

The book is clearly a page-turner, but I struggled a fair bit when there were changes in the timeline, as the story, at one point, goes back in time to Maia’s great grandmother, and her own love affair with a French sculptor. My frustration also lies in the fact that the romance seems overly simplified. Truth be told, the entire story appeared somewhat like a telenovela – with the predictable trope of the poor French artist versus the wealthy and unattractive Brazilian fiancé with Portuguese lineage and relations to royalty – and the virginal Brazilian bride with Italian ancestry, torn between family obligation and true love.

Yet, while the plot is not new; the glamorous packaging, shrouded in secrets and mysteries with the whole backdrop of mythology – worked in such a riveting manner, that even the most jaded reader can simply regard the book as a guilty pleasure of sorts. There were no illuminating insights about human nature, no beautiful passages that a discerning reader will mark for further reflection – just good ole fast-paced plot, with the story of the seven sisters serving as an entertaining narrative to keep the reader occupied for an entire weekend or so. At the moment that I am writing this review, I am not sure yet if I will continue on with the series: that is another mystery to be solved for another day.

#LitWorld2018GB Update: Brazil

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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