#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Royal Secret” by Lucinda Riley

Posted Saturday, 25 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I became introduced to the writing style of Lucinda Riley through reading her dearly epic Seven Sisters saga – I have also participated on a few of the last blog tours celebrating this series whilst having had the pleasure of borrowing the books through my local library in order to read the series start to finish. Through these readings during the past few years, I’ve felt her writings and stories have etched themselves into my heart for their breadth of depth and the wondrous ways in which her characters never quite leave your heart after you conclude their individual stories!

Therefore, when I was approached about a new book being released that is outside this series I have a fond attachment too but is within the scope of the recent IRL Royal Romance between Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex – I knew I had to read this novel!

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Royal Secret” direct from the publisher Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I love returning back inside a Lucinda Riley novel:

What was beautiful about the story is the resolve of Tiggy’s grandmother and the rest of the women in the family; I leaned closer to Maria than Lucia; though in truth, Lucia had a complicated life. She was passionate to a fault, addicted to her talent and sought for nothing outside the pursuit of her chosen craft: dancing. She also was at a deficit in life to strive for her own goals due to her father’s manipulations – overall, you felt for her in those moments where you wonder how things could have gone if she hadn’t hitched her dreams to her father’s selfish motivations.

Tiggy’s story has a lot of unexpected surprises within it – the best of all is when Ally came back into the time-line as I was most happy with what is revealled about her and where she is presently in her life. Other sisters came in and out of the sequencing of events but it was truly more centred on Tiggy and Ally at one point which was quite lovely, I thought! Tiggy didn’t have an easy path anymore than Lucia – similar to how the past and the present affected her sisters, Tiggy was learning that her past was also influencing her present in ways she might never had understood if she hadn’t believed in her instincts to live and work the way she believed was her heart’s passion.

It speaks to how we all need to listen to our intuition and to be mindful of the things we are understanding – living life on faith and for hugging close to our family. Whether our family is found, adopted or biological – all families are important in our lives as it is the one place in this crazy world where we can find unconditional love and acceptance. This is truly a series which champions family, love and the fierce strength of the women who the seven sisters are related too. Each new installment re-strengthens the legacy of their lives and draws us closer to the truth emerging out of the unknown passages of time uniting them all.

I truly love when writers insert linguistical expressions of phrase into their stories – I’ve read quite a few stories about Scotland and the Highlands in particular (as it is my favourite setting!) – however Ms Riley truly tapped into their dialect in a beautiful way of convincing you on your arrival to the Kinnaird estate! The words are writ just as they would be heard and it added more dimension I felt to Tiggy’s story as this is how she would be hearing the words herself when she was interacting with everyone.

The linguistics continued in the sections highlighting life in Spain – including the cultural heritage of gypsies and the flamingo dance. You truly felt taken on a flight through history – seeing how Tiggy’s ancestors once lived in caves and how their cultural heritage was something they were not just proud of but something they maintained generationally. Getting to peer into the past was a blessing as it showed the background of Tiggy’s origins whilst it contrasted with who she is today. It also spoke to those moments of insight she felt as she had grown up and what her intuition truly could reveal about her truer nature.

Riley continues to inspire me for the depth of conception within her series – she spends a heap of time developing the characters, their back-stories, their present lives and the ways in which the past arches back into the present to where you will lovingly feel dearly attached her narrative style for giving you a breadth of joy as you settle into her series.

I love how this series transitions through a Contemporary narrative into a Historical one – it is a time shift series where you spend half of your time in the past and the rest of the time in the present. Each section of the novels inter-relate to the other sections to where you have this beautifully strung continuity between the ancestral lines of the sisters and their own lives in the present day. It makes for a lovely reading experience because your shifting back and forth, digging into the past but also walking through the present towards the future. I love this style of story and the best bits really is how taut and exacting she’s crafted the continuity between the installments.

-quoted from my review of The Moon Sister

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Royal Secret” by Lucinda RileyThe Royal Secret
by Ms Lucinda Riley
Source: Direct from Publisher

When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five, he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, it could rock the English establishment to its core.

Joanna Haslam, an up-and-coming reporter, is assigned to cover the legendary actor’s funeral, attended by glitzy celebrities of every background. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind—the contents of which many have been desperate to keep concealed for over seventy years. As she peels back the veil of lies that has shrouded the secret, she realizes that she’s close to uncovering something deadly serious—and the royal family may be implicated. Before long, someone is on her tracks, attempting to prevent her from discovering the truth. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781982115067

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Genre-bender, Women's Fiction


Published by Atria Books

on 21st May, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 528

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

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #TheRoyalSecret and #SaturdaysAreBookish

About Ms Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley Photo Credit Boris Breuer

Lucinda Riley is the New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid House, The Girl on the Cliff, The Lavender Garden, The Midnight Rose, and the Seven Sisters series. Her books have sold more than fifteen million copies in thirty-five languages globally. She was born in Ireland and divides her time between England and West Cork with her husband and four children.

Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

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my thoughts ahead of reading this novel:

I personally adore reading the Author’s Notes, Dedications and any of the Appendixes included in the novels I am reading – this time round, it was beneficial as I hadn’t realised the path Ms Riley took within the world of books was rife with the kind of adversity she faced! All over this particular book – which seems quite difficult to reconcile as it is a fictional story, however, I have been a reader longer than I have been a book blogger – knowing full well that first impressions are everything. Similarly so are reputations and the publishing industry is not unlike other industries wherein the merit of your success is hinged upon everything you produce – which is why even actors lament about how they never know about their futures as it is co-dependent on their present projects not their successes of the past.

I believe Riley took the best route back towards her stories and the heart of why she loves to write – it reminds me of a similar walk in my own writerly endeavours sans the career ahead of my withdrawal from writing. I struggled for ten years to regain my writing life wherein it finally started to come back to me in my late twenties courtesy of Nanowrimo which gave me a brilliant timed challenge but also an exhaustive look at how not to write a novel if you want to live a healthy well-rounded life! Five years later, I started my journey into book blogging and now this year in [2019] I am celebrating my sixth year as a blogger and socially engaged reader. Throughout all of it – I’ve noticed my writings are strengthening and redeveloping in a organic transition from where I had been in my late teens and early twenties to whom I am now as a woman entering her fourth decade.

Each of us who writes for the joy of writing has to find his/her own route into the words, the worlds and the characters who inspire us to write their tales. What is remarkable is how if you believe in yourself and are willing to take leaps of faith along the way – even if it meant not getting back what you might have felt was lost – those are the writers who are steadfast and true to their own creative muse. They seek out the stories they desire most to tell and when the timing is right, those stories become revealled to the world.

Being a ready appreciator of Riley’s intuitive story-telling I knew going into reading this Contemporary Thriller I was going to have a wicked good read – what I found instead was a soul sister of whom I could relate in regards to never giving up on yourself or the creativity you’ve been given to shine a light into the world.

My Review of the royal secret:

There is a saying about how the truth lets out – how it cannot remain buried because of how earnest it is in being found? This is how Riley begins this novel – on the footnotes of a dying man’s last wish to right a wrong he never realised he would have lost the chance to undo himself. As we shift into his last moments we are also aligned with another – a woman who is also of a certain age, wise to the ways of how this new information of his death could impact a chosen few and whereupon that allowed her to make choices related to whatever is still unknown to the reader.

We quickly shift directly to his funeral wherein a young reporter is being pulled off sick leave (due to an outbreak of illness and she’s the best they could send) to report on the recently deceased actor for her boss. Between the broken heart and her immunity being shot to heck by a cold that was wretching itself into her bones, you gathered this was not someplace Joanna wished to be right now. In regards to her ex beau, you had to clap her fortitude in finding out now rather than lateron about how much of a cad he truly was and how thankful it would feel to know he’d owned up to his mistakes now than delayed them.

Joanna for her part has a gracious heart – when she escorts a woman who needs assistance arriving home whilst the funeral is taking place, she never knew how that singular act of grace would place her on a path she might not have believed possible without the randomness of being in the right pew at the right time. Of course, for her at that moment she was living it – this felt like the worst day in her life by half and not the best way to keep your job by failing to get the story you were ordered to capture for your boss. Part of me questioned why everyone was still keeping mum – not revealling how they were connected to Sir James but also, why this particular man was shrouded in such suspenseful curiosity.

As we tuck closer to Sir James whilst he was alive, we find his granddaughter Zoe – a single Mum to a son Jamie who had her own sea of adversities to transition through as a young girl who lost her Mum quite tragically. It was Sir James who stepped forward to intervene on her behalf when her own father wasn’t the right person to take the place of a doting parent; his thoughts were more locked into fuelling his career than towards tending to the needs of a girl who needed a supportive home life. It was there in her back-history with Sir James where you see how he put her needs ahead of his and how despite appearances to the contrary by other people in her inner circle (ie. family and friends) he was not the judgemental kind. He loved and supported her conditionally especially when it was crucial for her to have such a supportive and graceful presence in her life. What was hard though was realising that she had such a hard road to walk in her life – how even when the unexpected happened to her, she was met with criticism and people wanting to shun her rather than embrace her during a rather difficult adjustment period where she needed their encouragement and not their scorn. This is where you saw the tenderness of paternal love from Sir James – how he truly supported Zoe and the hard choices which arise out of life.

Zoe’s brother Marcus is a bit of a loose canon – he never felt he was equally supported in the same ways Zoe had been herself, which had turnt him more than slightly sour in his adulthood. It was a constant struggle for him – to sort out what motivated him as an artist (in motion pictures) but also, to take ownership of his choices. He had the audacity to constantly feel as if his failures in life were simply due to the unavoidable choices of others who hadn’t believed in him enough or hadn’t given him enough financially to mete out the life he desired. When it came down to it – he also made key choices which worked against his reputation and it was how he selfishly refused to admit his own faults which rankled the most.

The plot continues to thicken as Joanna finds her ‘next story’ is one which could take her on a rather intriguing journey. It was just a random meeting (or so she had felt at the time) with the elderly lady she had sat next to at the funeral for Sir James but when this same lady re-enters her life afterwards, its the ways in how she re-crosses her path which surprises her the most. A secreted letter outlining the importance of reconnection but its the timing of it that isn’t meant to be which causes Joanna the most stress, as just when she thinks she can chase up an explanation she’s left with more curious questions than resolved answers.

I liked how there were things happening in the background – how there were undisclosed observers of people’s actions in the shadows whilst there were also a few questions about who was whom in the plot itself – such as Simon, who was Joanna’s go-to friend and confidante. He hadn’t told her everything about himself, something we, as readers were privy towards knowing but for Joanna she was believing him to be a friend without any hard connections to the law. This was her first misstep which even her publisher noted on her behalf – of how trusting she had become with Simon but without the realisation that you need to trust your instincts about these situations moreso than a friend.

Unlike my previous readings of the Seven Sisters series, I found making headway into The Royal Secret took a bit more time. It surprised me – as I have felt so dearly attached within the other series, it is like going back ‘home’ each time I would read a new installment about Pa Salt and his daughters; whereas this time round, I was having trouble finding my footing within the context of the plot. It is a rather unusual cast of characters – as you have the relatives from Sir James affecting the forward motion of the story itself but you also have different tangents of interest stemming from the discovery made by Joanna. If you pull those layers apart and start to examine them individually you can start to see how the main thread was percolating through the foreground but part of me was finding this narrative to be a bit confusing round the edges. The transitions between the characters was organically paced but it was the slowing of information that I think which might have muddled it a bit for me. You would only find out a few clues per every so many chapters to where you had to sift through the goings-on of Joanna, Zoe and Marcus’s lives to where you were never truly certain if the plot would loop back round to uncovering the truth behind what the secret was eluding towards knowing. And, that was the rub for me.

I love reading Thrillers and novels of Suspense – but this particular one was a bit slow moving for me. You have the classic style of developing characters you’ve loved in the past by Riley, but when it came towards giving you a read that was equally captivating for the Suspense aspect of the story-line, I found myself questioning if this had enough in it to be a Suspense or Thriller novel. Even though there is this ache to understand the finer points of what the woman wanted to depart in knowledge to Joanna – giving her a proper reason to start sleuthing on her behalf even if the dangers lurking near her were not convincing enough to give her a pause for concern, I found myself a bit bogged down really in the scope of what was meant to be the foundation of this novel.

The more I attempted to read the less convinced I was I was going to understand the journey I had taken – as I simply could not attach myself into the plot. There really are two equally compelling plots to follow – Zoe’s unresolved past with the father of her child and Joanna’s pursuit of a story which could either make her career in journalism or give her a closer walk to an early grave. The difficulty I found in reading this was trying to untangle the tangents which stemmed out from these two separate plot threads – it was a winding round to connect both of their journeys – as they were both on separate but equal courses of interest.

Sadly, I think I have found that despite the fact I love the immersion of being hugged inside the Seven Sisters world – this particular story-line just didn’t work for me. I look forward to continuing my readings of the Seven Sisters – however, this story might be suited better for another reader.

Small fly in the ointment: Note on Content:

I think this is the first time I found a sentence in a novel I have read by Riley I felt went a bit too far afield – it is right at the top of Chapter Four and honestly, I think a different picture could have been painted to express how desperate Marcus had felt about his looming debts.

on the contemporary writing styling of lucinda riley:

Riley never fails me for her breadth of narrative and the scope of how she takes descriptive narrative to a new layer of intuitive writing! She paints everything with broad strokes – the textures of her novels, including this one are enriched by the details and the organic pacing her stories hold within them. You must be ready to journey alongside her characters – to tuck into the ordinary hours and to see how each moment they are living in the story is a moment where you can discern something about the plot and the purpose knitted into the story itself.

This plot is intricate and layered through the different inter-generations who are inter-connected to Sir James – with chapter headings in reference to chess, you find the plot is just as challenging as navigating through the game. You have to peer into the characters’ lives with an intention of drawing out the things within their lives they’d rather not reveal or have become known in public. It was almost as if there were more secrets alive and well in the story to where you had trouble discerning which secret was the most heavily guarded one and which one was the one which could effectively alter the most lives if it were uncovered.

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Reading this story has counted towards some of my 2019 reading goals:

2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: The book cover “The Royal Secret”, the author photograph of Lucinda Riley and the author biography were provided by the publisher; all of the Press Materials as well as the book’s synopsis is being used with permission of Simon & Schuster. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. 2019 New Release Challenge badge provided by unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Saturdays Are Bookish banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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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 Saturday, 25 May, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Drama, Family Life, Inheritance & Identity, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Life Shift, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction




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