All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley

on September 27, 2019

The Shadow Sister (The Seven Sisters #3)
Lucinda Riley
2019 (originally 2016), 704p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Star D’Apliese is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father – the elusive billionaire, named Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted by him from the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to their true heritage, but Star – the most enigmatic of the sisters – is hesitant to step out of the safety of the close relationship she shares with her sister CeCe. In desperation, she decides to follow the first clue she has been left, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world . . .

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in the Lake District, living close to her idol, Beatrix Potter, when machinations outside of her control lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious players, Alice Keppel. Flora is pulled between passionate love and duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a game – the rules of which are only known to others, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life . .

As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.

When I started this series, Star, the third sister, was immediately the one I think I was most intrigued about. CeCe, the fourth sister was adopted when Star was only a few months old so the two of them were basically raised as twins. CeCe has a more dominant personality, so she almost basically started talking for Star, who rarely ever spoke at all. The two of them have been inseparable their whole lives, with Star sacrificing an offer to a prestigious college so that she could be near CeCe, who then dropped out anyway. The two of them have travelled extensively and now CeCe wants to attend an art college in London, so Star goes too. CeCe does all the organising, getting them an apartment, choosing the furniture, even dictating where Star will sleep. Slowly, Star finds herself beginning to resent the life she has ended up in, where she’s 27 years old and hasn’t had a boyfriend, still lives with her sister, still shares a room with her. As CeCe spends hours away from the flat for her art, Star decides that she will investigate the mysterious clue Pa Salt left her that will give her the answers to her past. It leads her to a wonderful bookstore with an eccentric proprietor and Star finds herself pulled into his charismatic and troubled family, to whom she seems to be connected.

I think this book was the most interesting for me, historically. The story of Flora MacNichol and her devotion to her local area, her home and then the way in which her circumstances changed was fascinating. I liked the connection to Beatrix Potter and the Bloomsbury Group as well. There’s a lot of twists and mysteries within the tale which are fun to puzzle out. And as the story moves forward, there’s some similarities to Star as well – adoptions, children raised as twins, differing personalities. I always love reading about crumbling manors and the struggle of maintaining the expensive upkeep, especially as the time moves into a modern era. I loved the way Star fell in love with the house, how it called to her and how it made her realise why she’d never really found her path. She kind of agonises over her love of cooking and taking care of people and simply keeping house, because it’s not particularly progressive or feminist these days, to want to be a homemaker. But that’s where she excels, it’s what makes her happy. I related to her inability to find her true calling, to settle into a career. She had spent a long time mostly just following CeCe around, and I knew the sisters often felt like Star didn’t have a personality of her own. This is explored somewhat in this book and I did appreciate that although CeCe had come off as this bullying type abrasive character, as Star begins to find her feet and pull away from CeCe a bit, you can see the affect that this is having on CeCe. Their relationship has been unhealthily codependent for years, probably since early adolescence but it takes Star pulling away, searching out her heritage, finding her feet I think for CeCe to actually realise that perhaps she needs to do the same thing. That Star isn’t always going to be there, in the background, providing comfort and support. That perhaps all this time, their relationship has been that way because CeCe needed Star around, not the other way. I actually ended this book feeling quite a bit of pity for CeCe, so I guess it bodes well that her book is next and this one definitely helped change the opinion of her that I’d formed over the two previous books.

What is going on with Pa Salt? Like, if old mate isn’t dead, he’s not exactly being subtle about it? Ally heard his voice on the phone and then both Star and CeCe think they’ve spotted him in public. It’s a big world out there, yet everyone seems to be catching glimpses or hearing their supposedly dead adopted father. The whole death situation is weird anyway (buried at sea, in a rush, before anyone could get there) and then there’s the fact that his own adopted children don’t seem to know his name, where he was born, what his job is, anything like that. Who is/was this guy? What is happening? Is it to do with the 7th sister? Do I have to read another two books and not get any more answers? And if he isn’t dead, which I’m pretty sure he isn’t, he’s going to have to have the best excuse in the world for putting everyone through thinking he was. If I was one of the girls, that would be a very difficult thing for me to get past/forgive.

And after my recalibration on my romance expectations after the last book, this one exceeded them. So that worked for me!

Bring on book #4


Book #145 of 2019


7 responses to “Review: The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley

  1. One of my favorite series. Ever. Great review!

  2. I especially loved this one too.
    And on Pa Salt, it’s way past getting old for me. I’m completely up to date with these books and I know no more than you!

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