This is the first in what is going to be a series of seven novels by Lucinda Riley.
Of course with the beginning of every series you are setting the scene and it is that which I am going to try to do in my review.
Gathered back at their family home due to the death of their father, known as Pa Salt, six sisters Maia, Ally, Star, CeCe, Tiggy, Electra start to learn what the future might hold for them but also the legacy their father has left behind for them.
Pa Salt was their adoptive father. He took them into his care when they were babies, he chose them all and named them after The Seven Sisters. However the seventh sister never arrived. This we know from the outset of the story, that along with the mystery that surrounds Pa Salt builds a back story that at the moment you can only begin to guess at.
His legacy to each of the girls is a clue about their past. These clues are not just in the form of a letter but in the coordinates of an armillary sphere. Each daughter has their own coordinates and also a quote in greek and once they have been translated they start the beginning of the journey for each of these girls.
In this the first book, the story is of the eldest girl Maia, her quote ‘Never let your fear decide your destiny’ seems to sum up Maia. But we know little of her and she knows very little of herself. Lucinda Riley allows us the pleasure and enjoyment to find everything out about her and her past, including her heritage as she does herself.
Maia begins her journey in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro she starts to learn about some people who lived their previously.
With beautifully written flashbacks, we are taken to the Rio of some eighty years previous. We meet Izabela Bonifacio whose future it seems is ready-made, is her father has anything to do with it. Marry into the Brazilian aristocracy and know nothing of true love.
True love is found in Paris and with the sweeping of the story we are taken once more across oceans and continents to experience the bohemian artistic Paris of the late twenties. What links two such vastly different places?
Architecture, love and ambition. It is all being formed in the statue that we all know as Christ the Redeemer. Izabela meets the man commissioned to help with the sculpture and his young assistant who turns heads in Paris. Will Izabela’s life ever be the same now she has seen how life can be and how love can be lived?
As Maia learns about Izabela and the legacy of her life we can see how very much the same these two strong-willed women are. It is the culture, the time period that make it all so very different. They are both touched by love but it seems out of reach to be all-consuming.
This is a story to be swept up in both in the dual narrative, the romance, the mystery of the background of the characters and most of all the setting. So easily we are taken to the tranquility of Geneva, to the wildness of Paris and the exotic streets of Rio. I was in all these places, I travelled them, I walked the same streets and embraced the culture and the characters in equal measure. In fact I became absorbed by this book and it’s mystery and I hope you do to.
It has taken me near on two months to write this review, which even by my standards is a bit slack! I think it was because it was a book I didn’t want to share with anyone else, I wanted to keep it all to myself.
Now writing this review, I still feel the same though I urge everyone to read it. I have actually decided that I need to reread it. I need to experience it all again and I am sure that I will come out the other end with more wonderful things to write about.
There is two issues with this book – it is a chunky read and if you fall asleep whilst reading it you could cause yourself or anyone in the vicinity some serious damage! Secondly I am going to have to wait until the next one is out – harumph!
I was lucky enough to meet Lucinda back in September, and I promise to write all about that soon too.