All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley

on July 5, 2021

The Missing Sister (The Seven Sisters #7)
Pan Macmillan AUS
2021, 804p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: They’ll search the world to find her.

The six D’Aplièse sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister?

They only have one clue – an image of a star-shaped emerald ring. The search to find the missing sister will take them across the globe – from New Zealand to Canada, England, France and Ireland – uniting them all in their mission to complete their family at last.

In doing so, they will slowly unearth a story of love, strength and sacrifice that began almost one hundred years ago, as other brave young women risk everything to change the world around them.

Until recently, we thought this book would give us all the answers to the questions that the previous six books have raised. But then the author, just before this book was released, announced that the story had become too big to be wrapped up in this final volume and that there would be an 8th book, about Pa Salt, the man of mystery himself. Since then, Lucinda Riley has tragically passed away after a battle with cancer which is a terrible loss, that many in the literary world will feel.

The six D’Apliese sisters have always known that they were supposed to have a seventh sister and that for some reason, their ‘Pa Salt’ could never find her. I’ve never quite understood how he chose the girls he did or how one was ‘lost’ to him – but don’t actually expect this book to give you any answers. Because it doesn’t clear anything up and actually, after the missing sister is identified, it really only raises more questions.

This is unfortunately, not one of my favourite books in this series. I found a large portion of the first part of the book quite uncomfortable – the sisters are given some information which give them a lead and they send the closest sister to meet with the person they think is their “missing sister”. That person needs information from her mother, who is travelling overseas – and from then on the sisters just keep sending whoever is closest (because they are living all around the world) to the woman’s next hotel, even well after it’s quite obvious she’s freaked out by these strangers turning up and trying to talk to her. The sisters cannot understand why she might not want a total strange family following her around the globe and they honestly show such a lack of awareness. I’m not sure if it’s their insulated privilege or their single-mindedness in finding the sister now that their father is gone but….they didn’t show a lot of empathy, putting themselves in the person’s shoes. And their father means nothing to this person – they didn’t even know he existed. Expecting her to join them for a flower-laying ceremony out of nowhere, was honestly, very weird. Especially as all the sisters essentially know nothing about their father, not even his name, and cannot impart any information on him at all.

I always enjoy the historical portion of these novels and this one was actually no exception – I enjoyed a glimpse of rural Ireland during some troubled times (although I cannot speak to the accuracy of the portrayal). It was definitely a look at poverty, a country that had been ravaged by famine and was still very poor in some parts with a huge divide between the capital in Dublin and the rural areas. It’s also a time of great upheaval, with Ireland fighting for its independence from Britain and Britain looking to quash that. We meet a young woman who struggles between her desperate desire for Ireland to have its freedom and the unlikely friendship she finds with an English man she is employed to take care of – and two generations later, a young poor girl in an overly large family who sees firsthand the devastation that has on her mother’s health. When she’s given a way out of that life, she grabs it with both hands. There are a lot of mysteries between these two different historical timelines and it takes a while before all the connections are established – and only at the very end are they connected back to the current timeline, albeit only partially.

I honestly feel like a lot of the first portion of the story – the various sisters chasing this person around the world – could’ve been condensed a bit, in favour of advancing the plot a bit more. Riley tries to give each of the sisters we’ve already met some page time, which might’ve made sense when this was the last book but considering there’s a whole other book coming out, ended up being mostly unnecessary, especially as some of the scenes bordered a bit on the ridiculous side. And there are things in here that huge portions of the plot are devoted to but then wrapped up in a mere sentence. A lot of things are repeated, particularly scenes between Ally, Maia and Ma and the care of Bear and everyone drinks whiskey for breakfast in Ireland. Is that a thing? Seems concerning. Also I feel like in the other books, the sisters are given the time and space to learn their journey in their own time but in this one, the sisters force it upon their seventh sister, basically not taking no for an answer, setting in motion the events that do lead to her learning of her past. They want her there for this deadline of the flower-wreath laying and I feel like they’re so pushy about it that it’s very disrespectful (especially as there ends up being some errors – like Georg, what are you doing? And why were you so mysteriously out of contact at the precise moment everyone needed you to confirm information that you should have just given them anyway).

I’ve always thought from the beginning that Pa Salt probably wasn’t dead – too many things just didn’t seem to add up about it. Even though this book did frustrate me (the last 2 pages particularly) I’m in it for the long haul now. I’ve read 7 books about this and gotten almost no answers about anything, I need to know – who was/is Pa Salt really? Why did he adopt these specific children? Why was the 7th sister missing? Why do they not even know his name or what he does for a living? Why/how is he so rich? I need the answers to these questions and probably many more so yes, I’ll be reading the 8th book when it’s released next year…..might’ve been cool if they’d released these as a double release, rather than make everyone wait even longer. I really do hope however, that it does clear up all the points that have been raised throughout the series. I need closure.

5/10

Book #111 of 2021

The Missing Sister is book #23 of the 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge


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