Review: The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

The Seven Sisters

 

Title: The Seven Sisters
Author: Lucinda Riley
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 6th November 2014

 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll begin this review by stating that it’s slightly different from what I normally review here on Sepia Tinted Window, since it’s not 100% historical fiction. What I mean by this is that it’s a dual timeline novel – Maia, the main protagonist, lives in modern-day Geneva, but throughout the book she discovers her family heritage which we experience through the eyes of Izabela Bonifacio in 1920s Brazil.

That being said, The Seven Sisters is certainly 100% historical fiction in terms of the quality of research and ability to bring its setting to life. The story Lucinda Riley constructs around Maia’s heritage is fascinating and highly educational, merging vibrant fictional characters with some of the real events surrounding the construction of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue.

The whimsical premise of this novel (the first in a series of seven) instantly captured my interest. Each book centres around a different one of the D’Apliése sisters, who were adopted by a man affectionately known to them as Pa Salt as he explored different parts of the world. The story begins with the death of Pa Salt, and the subsequent discovery that he has left each sister a clue to their heritage, sparking Maia’s trip to Rio.

Lucinda Riley moves seamlessly between the past and present-day timelines, bringing colour and development to each of her protagonists’ tales. The only thing that really niggled at me was the heavy focus of the narrative on beauty, and the strong correlation between outward beauty and ‘goodness’ of the characters in a way which felt a bit Disney-esque.

I also found both the past and present-day romances pretty predictable, and they didn’t really do anything for me. Luckily there’s plenty more to be enjoyed from the story – I adored the interactions between the adopted sisters, and devoured all the historical detail surrounding the creation of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Overall this was a light, dreamy read which made for a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. The next book in the series has been added straight to my TBR, and I’m excited to find out which time and place in history Lucinda Riley will take me to next!

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