This is the second in a series of seven novels by one of my most favourite authors Lucinda Riley.
This book is dedicated to the second eldest sister, Ally. Like all her other siblings she was adopted by the man they came to call Pa Salt and were brought up in Geneva, in a place called Atlantis.
Very little else is revealed about Pa Salt at the beginning of this novel, and although Ally makes a discovery in regards to his yacht very early on, it is very much her story throughout. What Ally witnesses has stayed with me and forms part of an ongoing mystery of Pa Salt, I have my ideas but I want to see what comes out from the rest of the novels.
The book opens with setting the scene of what Ally is like, her passion for sailing and the man she falls deeply in love with. Immediately we are in the warm waters of Greece, the sun beating down. Out at sea, floating with not a care of what is going on anywhere else but in that moment.
When the tragic news comes through to Ally, she gathers at the family home where she learns, as do her sisters all about her past. That is if she wants to know about it.
Armed with the Greek quote “In moments of weakness, you will find your greatest strength” , translated by her older sister Maia and the coordinates left on the armillary sphere along with a book about a music composer, Ally takes all the information she has and leaves Atlantis to go back to her passions.
Tragedy strikes very quickly again for Ally and she feels she has nothing left in the world, so it makes sense to perhaps find out her true heritage, one that is going to take her far from the warm Greek seas to the bleakness of Norway.
Ally is transported back to a time to the story of Anna and Jens, from their humble beginnings, to their exposure on the stage in the first ever production of Peer Gynt. The world of music, of Grieg and Ibsen and the romance that was bound to be troubled from the very start. Whilst we have a dual narrative between Ally and Anna, we are taken on a much longer journey. We go through the generations of those related to Anna and Jens and we learn more about them and how the actions of Anna and Jens are still resonating years later. Many years later.
As we learn, Ally does too and when she meets Thom it seems that all of the pieces of her past jigsaw are finally slotting into place. However, there is a strength she finds from the tragedy she has suffered, one that I confess I to have guessed, but was thrilled by the secret of knowing when Ally didn’t.
Embarking on a series of books with a theme running through them all must be daunting and there is often criticism of the second book being slightly lack lustre. This book does not fit into this stereotype. I loved the first, where I learnt so much about Rio, Paris both in present day and in the past. Now I am learning about sailing, about Norway, about music and as in both of the novels about love, loss and pursuing a dream.
It was lovely to know that as Ally was on her journey, we had more interaction with Maia from the first book, you knew she was settling into the choices she made. There were clues about what sort of journey perhaps Star is going to face and I simply cannot wait (though I am going to have to) to find out more about these sisters, as in this book for me, more of their personalities were coming out and they intrigue me and frustrate me in equal measure.
If you want to get lost in not just a character driven series of novels but also ones that take you back to another time where you learn so much then these are certainly the books for you. Something I did take away from the book was the choice of Peer Gynt. It meant I had to go and find the music that was being constantly referred to. Of course I knew the music, but ignorantly I did not know the name. What a wonderful piece of music which I have listened to countless times since picking up this book. Suddenly hearing the piece of music makes the story so much more alive for me.
The Storm Sister is an excellent read and I recommend it, even if I am slightly biased in Lucinda Riley being a favourite of mine!
Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book. The Storm Sister is out now.
The third book in this series of seven The Shadow Sister is out in November 2016.