All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley

on May 21, 2021

The Sun Sister (The Seven Sisters #6)
Lucinda Riley
Macmillan
2019, 848p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: The Sun Sister is the sixth epic story in the Seven Sisters series by the number one international bestseller Lucinda Riley.

To the outside world, Electra d’Apliese seems as though she is the woman who has everything: as one of the world’s top models, she is beautiful, rich and famous. But beneath the veneer, and fuelled by the pressure of the life she leads, Electra’s already tenuous control over her mental state has been rocked by the death of her father, Pa Salt, the elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters as babies from around the globe. Struggling to cope, she turns to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain, and as those around her fear for her health, Electra receives a letter from a complete stranger who claims to be her grandmother . . .

In 1939, Cecily Huntley-Morgan arrives in Kenya from New York to nurse a broken heart. Staying with her godmother, a member of the infamous Happy Valley set, on the shores of beautiful Lake Naivasha, she meets Bill Forsythe, a notorious bachelor and cattle farmer with close connections to the proud Maasai tribe. When disaster strikes and war is imminent, Cecily decides she has no choice but to accept Bill’s proposal. Moving up into the Wanjohi Valley, and with Bill away, Cecily finds herself isolated and alone. Until she discovers a new-born baby abandoned in the woods next to her farmhouse…

Sweeping from the frenetic atmosphere of Manhattan to the magnificent wide-open plains of Africa, The Sun Sister is the sixth instalment in Lucinda Riley’s multi-million selling epic series, The Seven Sisters.

In October 2019, I binge read the first five books in this series, intending to finish in time for this one, the 6th, to be released. I did finish in time but perhaps I was a bit fatigued after that because I didn’t get around to reading this when it first came out. It’s taken until now and receiving a copy of the 7th novel, The Missing Sister to realise that I’d better get this one ticked off the list. Because I thought that in getting book 7, I’d be getting all the answers and that I’d finally know who Pa Salt was, what he did, why he adopted all those children and why it was those particular children. Why the 7th one wasn’t found. But funnily enough on the very day I finished this, someone showed me a video on Lucinda Riley’s Facebook page saying that the 7th book wasn’t enough to do the story of the missing sister and Pa Salt justice so there’s going to be an 8th book now, which will be Pa Salt’s story and that’ll be out next year. I guess it’s better to know that now, before I start the next book expecting to get all the answers. Instead, I’ll only get half of them I suppose, as at least it’ll reveal the missing sister and tackle her story.

But this one is Electra’s story and she was always my least favourite sister in the other books. The excerpt at the end of book #5 didn’t really fill me with joy at reading this one as I do find the “celebrity with drinking/drug problem” very overdone. And Electra was just a really unpleasant character. So it was with some trepidation that I picked this one up….but I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would! So much so that I read it in 2 days and that’s no easy feat for an 800+ page book!

As always, this is split into two timelines: Electra and the “present day” which is around 2007/08 and then it delves back in time, this time in 1930s New York and then Kenya as Electra discovers the story of her past and her heritage. I actually found the historical portion of the story fascinating – sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. Cecily is a young woman living in New York after a broken engagement when her godmother asks her to come and spend some time in Kenya with her. Eager to escape the city while her former fiancé gets married to someone else, Cecily agrees and is catapulted into the ex-pat set in Kenya in the 1930s – wealth, privilege, champagne, the social scene. The ‘Happy Valley’ set are infamous for their lifestyle of excess during a time where you only had to sign up and the British government would grant you 1000 acres in Kenya to do with what you wanted – never mind those who were already there. This book references real life people of the Happy Valley set and presumably, real life incidents and just inserts Cecily right into the middle of them. I found the Kenyan setting incredibly interesting – a time of such excess and wealth among a group of aristocracy even as war approaches in Europe. And then there’s the local population and what they are reduced to with all of these people being granted land to set up farms and make money. Despite the problematic lifestyle and setting, I did find that portion fascinating to read, as Cecily settled herself in a completely foreign climate and learned to adjust to the wildlife and challenges. And then there were her decisions that were definitely out of the norm for the time.

Electra’s story went much the way I expected it to. I thought it could’ve done with a bit more depth in the portion after she exits rehab as even though she seems to think of her addictions, it’s almost in an abstract way. I thought she’d face more of a challenge in overcoming them back in her world, one also of excess. She’s a famous model and you’d think that world would provide temptation in many forms every day. I found her more likeable as the book went on, as she’s really not a pleasant person in the beginning and is well used to being on her own since she was 16 and having everything she’s ever wanted. Electra learns of inequality in this book and also how those that have can advocate for those that do not.

I found it engrossing and it got me back on track to want to learn more – I’m actually glad I waited until now to read it after that ending.

8/10

Book #80 of 2021

The Sun Sister is the 16th book read that counts towards my 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.


One response to “Review: The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley

  1. Cori R says:

    What?! Book 8. Oh my, I was ready for Book 7 to be closure. I’ve absolutely loved this series but it’s such a commitment that I haven’t recommended it to many friends.
    I’ll look for your#7 review on here! I liked Electra’s story more than I thought!

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