Author: Lucinda Riley
Genre: historical, general fiction
Series: The Seven Sisters #3
Published: April 18 2017
Source: publishers for review
Travel through the lush English countryside and explore the magnificent estates of the British aristocracy in this next spellbinding love story in The Seven Sisters series by #1 internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley.
Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.
A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in England’s picturesque Lake District—just a stone’s throw away from the residence of her childhood idol, Beatrix Potter—when machinations lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious society hostesses, Alice Keppel. Flora is torn between passionate love and her duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a larger game. That is, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...
As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.
The Shadow Sister is the third in the sweeping Seven Sisters series, “soaked in glamour and romance” (Daily Mail) and perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and the novels of Kate Morton.
The third book in the on-going series and the strongest offering yet by a veteran timeslip author, The Shadow Sister is a return to the varied and interconnected lives of the seven daughters of the enigmatic Pa Salt. Imagined as a more modern retelling of the Pleiades, each successive novel has centered on a successive adoptive sister of a large, multicultural family. Recommended for fans of century-spanning plots from authors like Kate Morton, Star D’Aplièse's current life is intertwined with that of Flora MacNichol, a woman who lived 100 years before and whose story is pivotal to the modern plotline.
Before with The Seven Sisters first eldest sister Maya and then Ally in The Storm Sister got to have their backstories told and now it is the turn of quiet, shy Star to take the center stage. The Shadow Sister is entirely her story, though others leave their mark on both her and the plot's progression. Leaving Atlantis to follow her path and find herself, Star finds a lot more than she could have expected, including the fictional inclusion of Beatrix Potter. Her story is long and winding; Lucinda Riley's style of storytelling lends itself to detail, description, and sometimes repetition. Star is an able main character; despite her flaws she's engaging and likeable. It's easy to invest in her, even if sometimes her decisions are frustrating. Flora is a good complement and foil for Star, but I found her plotline somewhat less compelling. I was interested to see how it would conclude and connect but it was Star that pulled attention.
The various locations shown in the book are another highlight to reading The Shadow Sister -- the bookstore! London! Beatrix Potter's house! The settings for Flora before and for Star now can be both evocative and atmospheric. As I said, Riley is an author that tends to be rather descriptive -- which benefits that pivotal aspect of their stories. On the other hand, there's no denying that The Shadow Sister is a very verbose book. Almost 700 pages is a lot of story to cover and certain elements of the plot can feel overly-drawn out at times. The way the narrative alternates between the past and present is a favorite structure of mine and can be used to showcase new angles to the central story, but some of it feels unnecessary and repetitive here.
Despite the occasional spot of uneven pacing, narrative repetition, or an overly-anticipated plot reveal, The Shadow Sister is a engaging blend of two women's stories of life and love. The "silent sister" of the seven, in this Star finally finds her voice, and Lucinda Riley ends her third novel in a good position to launch the fourth.