Book Review | “The Seven Sisters” (Book No.1 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley A beautifully conceived novel about adoptive sisters, the search for identity and birth origin whilst happily cast against a back-drop of a time shifting series which moves seamlessly between the present and the past.

Posted Monday, 29 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I’ve known about the Seven Sisters book series for quite awhile now, however, I haven’t had the proper chance to dig into the series – therefore, when I was approached by the publisher to considering being on the blog tour this February, I decided it was time to borrow the books via my local library! Although, as a member of the blog tour I was receiving the fourth release “The Pearl Sister” for my honest ruminations, I decided to back-read the entire series ahead of soaking into the newest installment – my personal preference is to read serial fiction in order of sequence; even if sometimes I find myself bungling the order, I love to see how the writer has set the stage for a series which becomes progressively engaging! To start at the beginning is the best way to see how they laid down the foundation for both the series, their writing style and how the characters first make their entrances into our lives.

I borrowed the first novel in the Seven Sisters series “The Seven Sisters” in hardback edition from my local library. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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On what appealed to me about reading the Seven Sisters series:

When I realised this was going to be a story about adoptive sisters, I was instantly captured by the premise as I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum – who wants to adopt a sibling group out of foster care in the future. However, prior to realising this key thread of the series dramatic arc and connection, what moved me more is how it was layered through History and dual time-lines of different characters who were in essence inter-connected in a way they did not even realise it at the time. This felt like quite an epic Historical series – where it would move in and out of the Contemporary world and the recent past; where histories of each of the sisters’ origins might become revealled in each new installment of the series.

The layers the author was assembling into the series was quite alluring as well – such as the overlay between Mythological Histories and the reasons why the Seven Sisters are such a key point of reference in both spoken histories and the mythologies we know have become beloved favourite stories passed down through different generations whilst the stories themselves are sometimes altered by who is telling them. Combine this with the clever mind of a writer who was able to visit the locales in which she is writing about – absorbing what was there to be seen and felt as she was writing the stories and I had a feeling this is one series which would give me the sensation of living ‘elsewhere’ quite wondrously until the final chapter of the final novel was read – as it’s not yet composed into life, I have a bit of a wait ahead of me!

Blessedly I’m a patient reader – I don’t mind waiting for the next sequences of a beloved series. I might get wicked excited and wish to read them sooner – but in the end, I respect the time needed to create them and I’d rather have patience than to have an installment feel it was rushed into existence. Somehow, I have stumbled across another writer who writes like I do – not something I generally find, but within the pages of Ms Riley’s #SevenSistersSeries, I see my own writing style mirrored within her own. It’s interesting to observe as this is the first time I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading her stories and I can tell I shall be spending a lot time seeking out her stories and wickedly delighted to see where she continues to take me,… one thing I can attest as being an inspiring segue from reading this novel is by watching adoptive stories on YT.

I took moments outside the text to watch videos of adoptive families being spotlighted on Ellen, Rachael Ray and other outlets celebrating the joys of being part of a blended family. I even learnt about an adoptive family of fourteen siblings – from various countries of origin – who surprised their Mum and Dad with a new living room as they wanted to give back part of the joy and happiness they had received throughout their lives to two selfless parents who never took time to focus on themselves because they had always put the children first (as it should be). I love stories which parlay into our own heart’s wishes and dreams whilst acknowledging the journey all children go through who are on a path of adoption. (see also the 14 adoptees who surprised their parents)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNotation on Cover Art: I had agreed with the author in one of her YT videos about how the constellation cover art truly suited this first novel of her series, however, having read the hardcover American edition – I personally liked how the evidence left behind by Pa Salt was imprinted (similar to a watermark) behind the author’s name (the armillary sphere) whilst below the title, we can see Rio and the sculpture of Christ the Redeemer whilst Maia is looking away from Rio – it’s a clever way of positioning you into the setting of where Maia starts to understand who she is and why she is one of Pa Salt’s daughters.

Book Review | “The Seven Sisters” (Book No.1 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley A beautifully conceived novel about adoptive sisters, the search for identity and birth origin whilst happily cast against a back-drop of a time shifting series which moves seamlessly between the present and the past.The Seven Sisters
by Lucinda Riley
Source: Borrowed from local library

Synopsis on the Inside Flap:

Maia D' Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, "Atlantis" - a fabulous, secluded castle on the shores of Lake Geneva - having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as infants, has died. Each of the sisters is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage - a clue that takes Maia, the eldest, across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to piece together the story of her own life's beginnings.

Eighty years earlier, in the Rio of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio's newly wealthy father has aspirations for his beautiful daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find a sculptor capable of completing his vision. Izabela - passionate and longing to see the world - convinces her father to allow her to accompany the da Silva Costa family to Europe before she is married off to a man whom she hardly knows. In Paris, at Paul Landowski's studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this beguilling entrancing novel, Lucinda Riley brings vividly to life two extraordinary women whose intertwining stories, set decades apart are a reminder of the courage it takes to accept love when it is offered.

Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biographical Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5990-6

Also by this author: The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister, The Moon Sister

Also in this series: The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister, The Moon Sister

Published by Atria Books

on 5th May, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 480

 Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

I *love!* finding videos by authors who love to engage with readers about the inspiration behind their stories – the more I learn about Ms Riley the more I see a lot of myself in her intuitive instincts for drawing out a story which she is as passionate about writing as I am to be reading it. I loved this video & thought you’d enjoy it, too.

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The Seven Sisters Series: of whom are Maia, Ally (Alcyone), Star (Asterope), CeCe (Celeano), Tiggy (Taygete), Electra and Merope – the series is based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades – interestingly enough, this is a constellation in close proximity to Orion*.

The Seven Sisters : Maia’s Story (Book One)

The Storm Sister : Ally’s Story (Book Two) | Synopsis

The Shadow Sister : Star’s Story (Book Three) | Synopsis

The Pearl Sister : CeCe’s Story (Book Four) | Synopsis *forthcoming review 1st of February, 2018!

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SevenSistersSeries

#whoispasalt ← I advise not visiting the second tag on Twitter as it tends to reveal a few things ahead of reading the stories themselves.

*NOTE: My favourite constellation since I was young girl who lived at her Science Center, whilst finding the awe and wonder of studying a wide diversity of the Sciences through interactive play, experiments and lively engaging Summer camps – I had a focus of interest on Cosmology and Astronomy which had a healthy appreciation for the constellations and the intriguing stories behind how they were named and the lives ‘they’ once lived. All of this is a segue of interest which also parlays into my fascination and appreciation of the Quantum Realms and AstroPhysics. I hadn’t realised the connection to Orion until I opened The Seven Sisters; after which I immediately smiled – this series was meant to be read by me. The girl who looks for Orion every Autumn and wickedly smiles musefully at him throughout Winter and Spring. Geographically speaking, he’s not even meant to be seen outside one season a year yet I find him more frequently than most – a constant presence overhead and a comforting sight at that!

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Hothouse Flower and The Seven Sisters. Her books have sold more than ten million copies in over 30 languages. Lucinda divides her time between West Cork, Ireland, and Norfolk, England with her husband and four children.

Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

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seven sisters | seven personalities:

As we entreat into the vision Ms Riley created for The Seven Sisters series, we start to ‘meet’ the girls’ who populate the series – each in their own turn, having a narrative spotlight of their own per each installment herein. Whilst this serves as the foundational piece which entices us to move forward into the series itself, the interesting thing is how we’re finding each of the sisters have personalities which equal their livelihoods. Even small bits of their personalities are reflective in their life’s choices and owning to their individuality, they each sparkle and glow with an intense spirit of their own.

As Maia is the gateway into the heart of her sisters, we start to see each of them emerge out from under her sisterly protective feathers – Ally is the elusive sister right now at this intersection of their lives, whilst Star and CeCe are co-dependent upon each other for both support and forward motion of their lives; only there are hints of this not remaining the case for long. For Star hasn’t yet come into her own outside the shadow of her sister, CeCe of whom is there to provide a shelter from life’s storms. Tiggy is the rock and soundboard of Maia and vice versa; these two share a strong bond with one another; whereas the other sisters have partnered off a bit themselves.

Equally they all appreciate each other in their own ways but some of the sisters are closer to each other than others; such is the way with siblings. They also have different approaches to life, different reactions to stress and joy and happily reflect the diversity of their countries of origin whilst being a mighty force of sisterhood strength. Theirs is a unique family forged out of a father’s love and intention of bringing them all together – to become greater in their unity and to have a stronger bond as a whole.

My Review of the seven sisters:

I mirrored the sentiments of Maia – of feeling especially blessed for not having the gift of foresight to know the events of our lives ahead of their arrival. In this particular case, she’s referring to the news of her father’s passing – reflectively, as I’ve loved, lost and buried most of my living family – I can understand her sentiments. Each time I had to ‘let go’ of someone quite dear to me, if I had known about when their lives were to end this chapter of their lives, I am unsure if it would have helped the healing process or made each day leading up until ‘the day’ that much worse – knowing ahead of time how absent the hours would feel after they had moved into the next life. We’re dearly attached to those in our immediate orbit – we feel deeply and like to encourage memories out of the hours we share together – despite the epic loss, the memories remain, but the absence of their presence is never fully resolved as we still find reasons why we miss them even decades lateron.

So very acutely accurate – when crises arise in our lives, there is a vacuum effect on our persons; we feel as if we’ve become sequestered outside our ‘ordinary life’ but rather than having a marked change in our appearance or any outward suggestion of a radically altered moment threading into our hours – everything appears as normal as it had before we realised how altered we felt. Grief and trauma run concurrently similar in how you approach them – if you’re someone who likes to tackle life’s unpredictably curious curve balls head-on, you muddle through at first, a bit loss for how to process it all and then, eventually, you make sense of it – before you accept whatever it is which has happened and continue to find the strength to move forward.

Maia is having her memories cascade through her as she tucks her mind back into the past – of how her and her sisters were individually chosen by her father (Pa Salt, a child’s nickname for a father who loved the sea) and adopted through the love he had for being a father to children already of this world. She was making her way back to the family estate – named Atlantis for how it was surrounded by water, unconnected to land and the beauty of it truly was how unattached it was to the outside world. How such a place can exist is a blessing I’d say, as it would give you a full release of the world’s affairs – whilst proving to be a renewal of spirit and energy to re-alight into the world once you felt refreshed enough to do so. A personal private retreat where you can thrive and heal whilst finding solace and balance in an evolving world full of it’s own tumults of adverse periods of uncertainty.

As Maia explained her family’s unique situation, you felt closer to her – as the eldest of six (I had a suspicion there was a ‘story’ behind the seventh sister being absent), the fuller weight of taking on this role of surrogate Mum in time of crisis and death – you could see how she felt like a sisterly mama bear in this circumstance. I smiled when she said her ‘mother’ was not entirely a traditional one as she wasn’t married or involved with her father; she was hired to look after the girls’ in her father’s absence. The beauty of the series as it’s being disclosed is how wonderfully non-conventional the author wrote the back-stories of her characters’ lives! It’s definitely a series I can see myself championing over as I move in and out of the installments leading into the fourth: The Pearl Sister which served as the impetus to read this series this year.

I could relate to Maia’s sense of honour and attachment to her father and the home she’d always had known at Atlantis. She was a nester, who liked to stay close to what was familiar but also, she wanted to be useful to her father – of keeping close in case she was needed or something arose which she could lend a hand at providing something only she could give. Eldest daughters have a way of feeling this way, of doing what was needed without question and giving of themselves to their families even if it meant putting their own lives on hold. In this, I could understand her motives and of the choices she had made throughout her life. In essence, her life made wholly sense to me because of how I could identify with her spirit and the ways in which she interpreted her world.

As Maia made her way back to her home country (of Brazil) and took up residence in Rio, I felt this city had come alive within my mind’s eye as readily as her beloved Atlantis. You could see and feel everything she was experiencing – from the closeness of the sea, to the way her footsteps might sound on the streets of Rio to the delicious bliss of tasting the peach from the market vendor and the awe-inspiring way in which seeing Christ the Redeemer up close for the first time might have felt like for Maia. This city was not allowing itself to be revealled though – for she took the time to seek out the coordinates her late father had given her, only to find a curiously old and secretive woman who would not be tempted into a conversation about her past. As she travelled through the city, it harkened back to my own journey into Mexico City and the outlying areas – as you get excited about the way in which a city and a new country introduces itself to you. She was starting to live a bit more fuller here, allowing herself to drink in the locality of Rio’s culture but also, see if she could find pieces of herself reflective in what she observed or experienced.

I truly loved the connection to the tile she was given by Pa Salt (in her personal letter after his demise; as each sister received one) and Rio. It was a clever way of tying together cultural and artistic history with the potential birth origins of an adopted daughter who doesn’t know the details about her birth family or the reasons therein why she came to be her Pa’s eldest daughter.

I was eagerly awaiting when time would shift – the first part of the novel is focused on Maia in 2007, the second part steps into Izabela’s life in 1927 – the shift occurs when Maia is entrusted with a parcel of letters. Letters which could be the tipping hat towards her heritage, but more delightfully than this are the gateway into the past – of revealling what bears knowing from the twenties and if there is indeed a connection to the older woman who is at the end of her years in the crumbling ruins of her family’s estate. A woman who is tight-lipped and unwavering in her inability to find reason to give Maia even a bone of an inch towards understanding her ancestral heritage. You have to wonder what people are so very afraid of – of how the truth of someone’s heritage could unsettle them so dearly; and what, if anything this late in the game, could possibly affect them to such a degree as to remain silent?

As we enter into Izabela’s life, (a young woman who likes to go by ‘Bel’) we start to see how the ambition of her father was blinding him to the needs of his daughter, as he was of the thinking he was still the one who was meant to decide her future. Caught inside this old-school manner of thought, young Bel longed to find a way to break-free of her father’s oversight (not that I could blame her!) whilst having enough time to sort out her own thoughts about how she wanted to live the life which was starting to stretch out before her in one long thread of uncertainty. She was of the mind to marry for love, her father was akin to the other notion: marry for wealth, for security and young enough to be of child-bearing years. Hers was a difficult upbringing – her childhood was the most blissful because she grew up in the rural areas where life was lovingly slower paced, the natural environs were her playground and the bustle of the cities were so far removed from her everyday world, they were never missed. Now, as a teenager, she had been removed from her oasis of youth – trapped truly, inside the society views her father shared and with an obligation to follow what he deemed her rightful path to pursue, Bel was finding herself recoiling from finding any joy left in her young life. All the hours felt they were no longer her own – even her best friend was absent from her during this crucial time, as she was turning of age now – a fact which caused her internal anguish because she knew her days would be surely numbered before she would be wed.

There is one scene I felt was quite cheekily included for showing a softer side of her life – the scene where the mountain monkey took her hairbrush because she left the window open? It seemed to speak to the ways in which our lives are affected by things we cannot foresee but still have to accept – she’s a forward-thinking girl but her father is trying so hard to repress her own nature you cannot but feel sympathetic to her situation.

As her father had plotted, Bel was not waiting long for a proposal of marriage but what did surprise me is how fond she had become for her betrothed: Gustavo. In a way, I think they might have been more classically matched if the circumstances surrounding how and why they had met would have been different. They were both keen on self-study and for expanding their knowledge of different subjects though the one they shared the most passion for was art. They were victims of a changing generation – of how both their families were striving to cling to the past whereas they were readily aware of how the future would not be dictated by duty and obligation to the old ways of their parents generations.

I found my ‘ah, ha’ moment – I had a suspicion there was a missing piece of Maia’s ancestral puzzle awaiting me in this second entry wherein we learn of Bel’s life and blessedly, I was not wrong! I was thankful realising what the touchstone of truth was between them and how it was interconnected to both the past and the present; for it was a gift of hope and protection; something I think Maia would love knowing about because she doesn’t let herself allow too many people into her confidence. Trust is something she struggles to accept in others and ironically or not, this is something which afflicted Bel, too. Both women were never quite as certain about the motives of others and oft felt they should yield to what they understood themselves – even if that meant staying a bit removed from a close connection to someone else.

One of my favourite characters is Margarida – she is a Brazilian art student living aboard on scholarship whose path intersects with Bel’s; in so many ways, she forms the catalyst which allows Bel to re-explore her creative tendencies. It is also through her own experiences she endeavours to give Bel cautionary warnings about ‘the world’ and how sometimes the truth of the heart and the realist perspective of the mind are not companionable when your lost inside your own emotional attachments. I felt she was an apt guide and sisterhood friend to Bel – who unlike Maria Elisa who was more sensible and grounded in understanding what she could give to others, understood Bel’s artistic nature. Margarida was a kindred spirit whereas Maria Elisa was a good girlhood friend – but she couldn’t understand the rebellious fight in Bel to seek something outside their own circumstances; if only to take a peek at a world one can long to become a part of but couldn’t quite join.

This is a love story where the romance is only part of the journey – the truer testament is how love can change a person’s heart but also, how sometimes love is absent from marriage. As you observe how Bel and Laurent were drawn together quite instantaneously as they each awoke something in the other which was not felt previously, you could see how a romance like theirs could endure whatever life could bring yet they were not free to choose whom they loved. Not all love stories have happy endings and not all romances are able to endure the obstacles set before the lovers. The quiet testimony of their connection is how self-respecting they were of each other and how well they understood each other without sharing anything too intimate except for a kiss towards the end of Bel’s stay in Paris.

As you saw her make her choice – to choose family over love, you wondered if this choice would be her undoing in the end. To go against your heart takes incredible strength – yet, whilst she was in Paris she showed how strong of mind and spirit she was when she came to the aide of a young boy who was both homeless and half starved. Her instincts were within her but she hadn’t had the freedom to act on them until she left Rio. She was a flower in bloom whilst aboard and part of me worried she would become regressed and depressed once she returnt to her family where the duties placed upon her would supersede her own inclinations.

My heart felt full upon finishing this story,.. so much so, I worried I wouldn’t be able to properly articulate exactly why I loved reading it! Smiles. It isn’t just the breadth of what Ms Riley wrote into the background of the seven sisters nor the lush landscapes of Rio, Paris and Geneva – it is the soulfulness of her intuitive murmurings of the human heart and the spirit of the soul – to first find resonance out of grief, freedom from fear and the mirth of joy after years of self-doubting uncertainty. This is a story which seeks to find the truth about the choices we all make and the ways in which our minds have trouble realising the greatest gift we have to give ourselves is forgiveness.

In regards to the terminal illness:

Part of the story deals with Cancer – a topic I generally shy away from reading about due to having a sensitive heart about terminal illnesses in fiction. I do opt-out of reading stories involving Cancer as generally speaking they are oft too emotionally gutting for me to read – however, this was a sub-plot and I was thankful the details of the illness were not highlighted as much as the anguish of the pending loss would be on the person related to the character who was succumbing to the illness itself.

A note on the threads of Adoption within the novel:

In observing Maia’s search for the true of her birth family, I realised this could one day be the journey my own adoptive children will need to take themselves. A journey I will whole-heartedly support as everyone deserves to understand their origins and to feel as if they know a part of their story which might be fragmented due to time or the loss of memories or even, if little information had been known originally. Who we are is not limited to where we come from but sometimes, identity and our awareness of ourselves is tied into our familial ancestry; for this I understood and celebrated how Maia chose to follow the leads of where her own journey was leading her to realise which family in Rio might be her own. Ms Riley treats this portion of the story with grace and mercy; of recognising both sides of the journey itself – the child who needs to understand their heritage and the family who may not welcome their intruding questions on their behalf. For the search of birth families can be an arduous quest if both parties are not open to the search.

I also appreciated seeing how each of the sisters interpreted their life with Pa Salt – how some of the girls were unsure of how he felt about them, or how the others knew without a doubt his love was sincere. It spoke to how each person who is adopted still can have insecurity in the stability of their new home – even if they are adopted as infants, the questions and doubts they feel are as tangible and beguiling as if they had been adopted as older children. The hardest part is knowing how their place in the family is accepted by everyone else – at the time of his death, he unfortunately hadn’t had the proper time to tie together everything to where their questions or doubts even, would have been put to rest.

There is an authentic realism of truth underlining the story – of how adoptive children adapt to their blended family and how those who adopt have a lot of love to give to the children they bring into their home. As much as the realities of blending together siblings who come from different backgrounds and who have different cultural identities. It is one of the most pro-positive stories I’ve read which looks at Adoption from all angles – including the journey of discovering origins of birth.

A note on Equality in Lit:

One of the most beautiful pieces of thought moving in and out of this novel is how multiculturalism is an organic part of the story. There is a passage I particularly grabbed a hold of in my heart about how all of Brazil is a melting pot of ‘somewhere else’ because the homogeneous nature of the Brazilian ancestral line has been cross-influenced by immigrants who settled in the country. By the time we find Bel in the story (in the 1920s) it is already noted there are few Portuguese families of pure ancestry still in Rio or the country itself – as  Bel’s family is originally from Italy, it strikes an interesting glimpse how this multicultural heritage was more widely received than other countries who also have strong immigrant histories.

There is also a lot of similarities between the historic past of Brazil’s progress and that of America – they too, had a period of time in their history where they employed slaves (blessedly, they also freed them) and where women had less rights than men (which they eventually overcame). Riley talks about all of this in the background of Bel’s story-line – rooting us in the historical times she lived in but also, supplementing our knowledge of her life with that of her peers and the people who lived in and around Rio.

Similarly, the cultural heritage of the seven sisters themselves is multi-dimensional because they are each from a different part of the world. Their cultural heritage is at this point in time unknown – as it becomes revealled as we walk alongside each of the sisters’ as we journey deeper into the series, but the blessing herein, is how organic Ms Riley gives her series a crucial look at how our world is truly a melting pot. Our differences give us individuality but they are never meant to divide us and the ways in which we are different gives more depth to our humanity. I love how she wrote this series and allowed it to deepen into the heart and spirit of characters you very much feel are alive.

It is lightly mentioned Electra* is dyslexic – as the historian and novelist Maia was able to meet in Rio (she worked as a translator for him) afeared his daughter might have this as well. What is interesting to me as how sometimes when a child is thought to have dyslexia people immediately seem to be downtrodden by the idea – as if a learning difficulty would somehow imply a difficult or altered future than the one they felt their child could have,.. on that note, I suppose if those people knew I was a dyslexic writer and book blogger they could potentially feel astonished. A learning difficulty doesn’t hold you back – you can do anything if you believe in yourself and have a supportive family behind you, such as I have been blessed with in my life. The main reason I bring this up though is because I am now even more keen on knowing Electra’s part of the story!

⇒ UPDATE: I am a bit confused now, as whilst I was reading The Shadow Sister, instead of Electra being the sister with dyslexia it was mentioned it was really CeCe? Hmm. Either way, whichever sister has the same learning difficulty as me will be a story I look forward to reading! I wonder if anyone else noticed this? Hmm.

on the historical writing styling of lucinda riley:

Not every writer can write such a keen sense of awareness of life and the ways in which we interpret how we are living has an effect on our mind, heart and soul. Ms Riley speaks to the heart-sense of our soul – of how what we feel can evoke how we think whilst giving a grounding of what roots us to our families; our environs and the places we call home. These simple truths are evident within us all – yet, it’s the ways in which Ms Riley broaches them into her narrative which feels so very authentic to what all of us experience throughout the transitional shifts of our lives which makes reading deeper into her text such a joyful moment of discovery. I loved watching her pen etch out the words – of alighting us in-step with her characters in such a way to understand what they are going to say before they even have a chance to think through things themselves.

I truly love how we are able to engage with both time-lines within the story itself – of understanding the sisters’ lives in the present but also, to tuck back into the past, to start to see how their origins were defined by the people who came before them. In this particular novel, we are moving backwards in time and forward in motion at the same time – for Maia is in the present-day Rio whilst Bel is of the historic Rio; each of them, are sorting out who they are – seeing themselves with new eyes and sorting out how they truly feel about the life they are seeking to live. It is interesting how within these layers, you start to see pieces of each of the women – Bel and Maia stepping forward and out of their own time-lines; of how portions of who they are are reflected in each other whilst the critical part of what connects them is still lingering just out of sight; of being confirmed.

Ms Riley truly highlights the period of time in Paris history where artists and writers co-merged together whilst trying to find a path into their creative lives – this was a time where they simply sought refuge with each other and in a city such as Paris which would entertain them – they could find master artists to apprentice under (far easier than now) whilst they had this vagabond and Bohemian lifestyle which worked well to funnel their passionate creativity into reality. They did not have the best resources in life to find security in how to live but they owned their artistic passion and sought out ways to fine tune how they could produce what their creative gift could bestow back into the world – they lived their art and they championed everyone who felt inclined to do the same as they did.

I’ve read quite a few stories which talk about this particular niche of History – either from an artist or writer point of perspective – Ms Riley uses this backdrop to point out how Bel hasn’t truly been able to take the tentative steps towards seeking out her own creative spirit – she was from an era in Brazil where the social ties of high society were still deeply entrenched in everyday life; where appearance and the pursuit of wealth were of higher importance than artist merit. She was a woman who dreamt of living outside the confines of her life – being in Europe allowed her heart to grow dimensionally – but as it is mused in the narrative, is it good to have your heart and mind renewed in such freedom as what can be found elsewhere from whence you live or is it a harder reality to accept knowing it can only be short-lived? There are questions being asked which anyone can relate to as they speak to the free will within us all and the choices we all make to pursue the passions we each have within us. I truly appreciated how Ms Riley approached this part of Bel’s personal growth – of keeping the lines a bit blurred and of allowing us to see her in a more vulnerable state where the control of her parents and the obligations of her pending marriage could not overshadow the personal will of her own to seek out who she was as a woman before she would have to accept the path her life was pre-destined to follow.

The beauty of the novel (and of the evolving series, I daresay) is how expansive it is – we are set first at the origins of where the sisters grew up outside of Geneva on their paradise estate of ‘Atlantis’ before we start to criss-cross through a global landscape of how their lives are ‘of the world’ itself rather than merely being secreted away ‘outside of it’. The girls’ were given such a remarkable childhood – of learning how their instincts guided their passions and how they had the freedom to seek out what they were passionate about by a kind-hearted father who believed in fuelling their imaginations as much as the concerns of their heart. He gave them a nurturing environment in which they could grow and mature into the women they became now. I could understand this upbringing as my own Mum and Dad encouraged me whenever I had a curious desire to learn and to grow independently aware of my world. It’s a forward approach to parenting and one which yields a critical belief of believing in the individuality of your children.

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whilst reading, i was listening to #pandoraradio:

As you might have noticed throughout the past few years, I’ve been talking about #amlistening to music whilst I #amreading – it has started to thread through my readerly tweets as well (being a social reader) as I like to give credit where it’s due especially as I’ve been trying out different (free) online platforms for listening to music. Each time I’ve ‘switched’ to a new platform is due to either a major buffering issue or I simply moved on to seek out a more balanced listening experience. Generally speaking, I do like to highlight how I listen to music as I might in effect help another reader find a space online they can trust to help give them a better reading experience.

Lately, I’ve been finding Pandora a better app per se for those of us who use Win10 – as it works well in the ‘background’ whilst we’re #amblogging (for instance) whilst it’s easy to manipulate as well. The app is lovely for those of us who have an eclectic mood for music whilst owning to the fact we listen to a variety of songs or classical selections depending on what we’re doing – for instance, I listen to a heap of Rock Alternative or Pop selections for actively tweeting, reading my Twitter feeds or commenting on blogs; conversely, when I’m reading, I’m generally seeking out Classical selections. I used to only be able to listen to Ambient and Trance Electronica (courtesy of my favourite “Hearts of Space” website ( but it’s a subscription based site and I had to let it go a few years ago) when I am reading – apparently, I’ve evolved!

I listen to a particular brand of Country music (mostly Outlaw Country or variants therein for Contemporary artists with a few Classic Country selections thrown in for good measure) for the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries I love reading – but in regards to my mainstay for reading? I have the tendency not to be able to listen to ‘words or lyrics’ and have a keen preference for chords of music which might hint towards popular hits but are classical in nature of delivery.

This is why finding a new station like “Classical for Studying” has been such a huge benefit to me whilst reading the #SevenSisterSeries! It has the epic vibe of Broadway Musicals and Sound for Motion Picture interspersed with selections I’d appreciate out of my Electronica roots – it has this cinema-tropic vibe too – of something larger than the music itself as it develops this musical backdrop to the words within Ms Riley’s series. Thereby curating it’s own musical thread of ‘place’ and intuitively works like an organic soundscape for my reading hours! (that’s the best part!)

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Some of the selections which I felt were welcome additions to my readings were:

Requiem for a Dream by Jennifer Thomas (*plus multiple other tracks of hers

Within by William Joseph

The Cello Song by the Piano Guys (*plus multiple other tracks of theirs

Requiem for a Tower by Escala

Take Flight by Lindsey Stirling <– this artist truly was inspiring – her music alone felt like a soundtraack befitting the hours in which I read – I wish I could encapsulate all the artists I listened too – however, I couldn’t always hit the ‘favour’ button as I was so intentionally ‘reading’ whilst pondering the greater scope of the story itself – I simply noticed her songs resonated with me more oft than others but it was the combination of songs which seemed to strike the best balance and set the ‘mood & tone’ of the novel.

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This video has a beautiful eclipse of the whole series – of how Ms Riley is assembling her story to be spread over *seven novels!* and the reasons why she was inspired to tell an epic tale such as this which spans across continents and truly digs into the heart of seven women whose origin stories are only one half of the layers she’s knitted into the background of this wicked lovely #SevenSistersSeries!

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Reader Interactive Question:

What are your favourite reasons for dipping into a story which ‘shifts’ through time – happily residing in dual timelines of both the present and the past whilst engaging you in a multi-generational saga which expands and contracts through the experiences and journeys the key characters are undertaking throughout the story itself?

If you’ve been reading the Seven Sisters series,

What encourages your heart whilst reading this kind of Historical Fiction?

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UPCOMING this week:

[more ruminations about #TheSevenSisters series!]

leading into my blog tour featured review for #ThePearlSister on the 1st of February!

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2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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{SOURCES: The book covers for “The Seven Sisters”, “The Storm Sister”, “The Shadow Sister” and “The Pearl Sister”; the author photograph of Lucinda Riley and the author biography were provided by the publisher; all of the Press Materials as well as the inside flap blurb is being used with permission of Simon & Schuster. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. YouTube videos featuring the author Lucinda Riley talking about the Seven Sisters series was embedded due to codes provided by YouTube. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life
This first tweet is the start of a *thread on Twitter where I quite literally micro-blogged my journey reading this novel “The Seven Sisters” whilst I also anchoured my readings of this novel into my 2nd #SatBookChat discussion on Saturday, the 27th of January. For those discussion points you can find the convo RT/streaming via @SatBookChat whilst I do plan on preparing archive notes this year on Jorie Loves A Story. Look for those in early February.
As you can see, I was noting how this series is a beautiful genre-bender – as per the list I attached to this review post, it crosses lovingly through Historical Fiction, Time Shift Fiction, Women’s Fiction and also re-imaginings of Mythos & Astronomy inasmuch as Biographical Historical Fiction as there are key characters rooted in living persons who once lived. 
As always, the discussions I host via my bi-monthly chat @SatBookChat are inspired out of my reading life – this novel sparked such a passionate interest in my mind to find a lead-in to a discussion I felt others would enjoy, I broached it into our second chat in late January. Whilst finding others who seek the same as I do (emotional portals into stories) and other readers of this series who are as attached to it’s heart in a similar vein as I have become. Further proving, some stories simply unite us all by the breadth of what they give us as we read.

Comments via Twitter:
Happily these tweeters are sharing the joy of reading this post:

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 29 January, 2018 by jorielov in #SatBookChat, 20th Century, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Adoption, Ancestry & Genealogy, Art, Art History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Films, Brazil, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Genre-bender, Heitor da Silva Costa, Historical Fiction, History, Immigrant Stories, Inheritance & Identity, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Library Find, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Marriage of Convenience, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Orphans & Guardians, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Sculpture, Simon & Schuster, Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, the Roaring Twenties, Time Shift, Unexpected Inheritance, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Working with Clay

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