Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Seven Sisters - by Lucinda Riley: Book Review

I have read this book quite a while back, but ever since I've kept thinking about it and am looking forward to reading the sequels. 

The novel follows the life of one of the six D'Apliese sisters. The novel starts with the death of their adoptive father. We learn from the very beginning that each sister was brought into the family in a non-tradional way: their father went to get them from some random place in the world. Now with their father dead, each has of the opportunity to learn about their origins because their father left them clues. Each sister is given a geographical location and can begin a search of their own.

The first novel follows the journey of the oldest of the sisters, Maia D'Apliese. She is the most cautious of the sisters, so it is a great decision for her to leave her home and go search for her story. But eventually she does. I want to say from the very beginning that this is a very catchy story, and the idea to follow each sister's story is appealing. The story starts in the present, but in order to understand Maia's story the shift is placed on the past, on Maia's great-grandmother. The past shows the Belle Epoque of Brazil's and Paris' 1920s. The perfect backdrop for a love story which sparks between Isabella Bonifacio and Laurent Brouilly. The story is told through the memories of Maia's grandmother's care taker and also, later, by Maia's grandmother.

What I had a rather hard time with was the language, if I may call it that. For some reason the characters were talking so strangely one with the other. Snippets like: "Presumably, you had a tough night last night, Maia, dealing with Electra's usual histrionic", said CeCe. or "Well, you know me, I'm addicted to good old caffeine-fueled English breakfast tea", I said, smiling, as I sat down. "I think I'll pass." [the housekeeper: ] "We're all addicted to something, Maia. I wouldn't worry too much about tea." sounded fake and inauthentic. For the 21st century the pieces of dialog between these characters were too stiff. However, once the shift turned towards the past, and the language was just the same, it made more sense. We were reading of the 20th century, after all. Maybe this is a preference thing, but it made the beginning a bit slow for me. But, as I said, the story became interesting and I continued reading.

The end is as expected, speaking strictly from the story's present point of view, but by the end I don't think the reader is interested in the first sister's story anymore. Where my curiosity lay was in finding out what were the family roots of the older sister. The final chapter of the novel starts talking about the second sister's story, Ally, thus leaving the reader curious about the sequel. Well done, author, well done.

All in all, it was a good story, it kept me turning the page (or pressing the forward button on my Kindle), and it made me curious for the sequel. Novel well done, I say.

Good Reads review:
Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this sweeping, epic tale of love and loss—the first in a unique, spellbinding series of seven novels—Lucinda Riley showcases her storytelling talent like never before.

I received an e-book version of this book via Net Galley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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