Friday, June 12, 2015

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley: Review and Giveaway!

Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Atria Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 480

Series: Book One, The Seven Sisters
Genre: Historical Fiction


Internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley returns with THE SEVEN SISTERS, the first novel in a spellbinding new series (seven books in all) inspired by the ancient myth of the Seven Sisters of Pleiades. THE SEVEN SISTERS takes readers from the shores of Lake Geneva to modern day Rio de Janeiro to bohemian Paris of the 1920s in a sweeping saga of passion, sacrifice, and the enduring power of art.

Upon the death of their wealthy, enigmatic father, Maia D’Apliese and her sisters convene at their family home, a secluded estate on the shores of Lake Geneva. Each of the sisters had been adopted at birth from a different part of the globe. Maia, the eldest, is the first to learn of their adoptive father’s death. Confusion is added to her grief when the sisters — Maia, the beauty; Ally, the leader; Star, the peacemaker; CeCe, the pragmatist; Tiggy, the nurturer; and Electra, the fireball – gather to hear the reading of the will. Their father has left each of his daughters a simple clue about her birthplace.

Until now, Maia has constructed her life so that she does not have to leave the safety of the family nest. But spurred by her father’s final bequest, Maia embarks on a journey to Rio de Janeiro to discover the truth of her origins. In Rio, Maia is accompanied by Floriano Quintelas, a novelist and amateur historian, who is intrigued to discover that Maia is apparently descended from the Aires Cabrals, an aristocratic Portuguese family who have been prominent in the country for the past two centuries. Together, they delve into her complex family history, a quest that is helped by their discovery of the crumbling mansion where an elderly woman – Maia’s biological grandmother — is on the verge of death. When the old woman’s caretaker secretly slips Maia a stack of old letters, an astonishing family history unfolds.

What Did I Think About the Story?

You know when you find an author you LOVE and you instantly go out and buy every book they've written right after reading the first book because you are so excited to read more from the author? That was me after reading Lucinda Riley's novel The Lavender Garden (you can click the title to read my review). Well, imagine my immense pleasure when I discovered that Ms. Riley not only had a brand spanking new book coming out but that this novel was the start of a seven book series (*brain explodes with happiness*)!

This new series is loosely based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades and will tell the stories of seven adopted sisters, each named after one of these mythological sisters ( it is noted at the beginning of the novel that the girl that would have been their seventh sister, named  Merope, was never found and adopted by their father. As this series is meant to be seven books and each book is supposed to deal with a separate sister, I have my fingers crossed that the seventh book will be about the elusive Merope!).

The first book in the series is The Seven Sisters, and at the beginning the girls learn that their loving yet mysterious adopted father has died. I have to note that their father, nicknamed Pa Salt, is exactly how I would picture a God-like character being when placed within our modern world. He's extremely benevolent and caring to his daughters and staff but also very removed, secretive and rules this world he created completely. He creates this luxurious fairy-tale like "kingdom" named Atlantis that is completely separated from the rest of the world on Lake Geneva and brings up his six adopted daughters there, giving them everything they could possibly want and encouraging them to find their passion in life and to go out and get it. At the same time he never tells any of them where they come from, what he does for a living or even where he goes when he isn't at home and brooks no argument when it comes to the way he runs their lives. Even after his death he is controlling the situation by making it impossible for the girls to attend a funeral and by giving each of them the coordinates to where they were born as well as a personal letter to each. Each daughter can now decide if she wants to find out where she comes from or whether she wants to move on with her life as it has always been.

The Seven Sisters focuses mainly on the oldest sister, Maia. She has always been the most responsible and grounded one, intelligent and beautiful but  never brave enough to leave the sanctuary that is Atlantis. She has continued to live there, working as a book translator and always falling back on the excuse that she needs to be there for their father as he ages. Now that he has died and armed with the whereabouts to where she was born and her letter from her father telling her to open herself up to life and love, she resolves to embrace this new life and try and discover her biological family's history.

The book synopsis above does a great job of summarizing Maia's experiences in Rio so I don't need to do that again, but what I will say is that, as Maia learns the tumultuous and dramatic history of her great-grandmother, Izabela Aires Cabral, she begins to process her own grief and guilt over some actions from her past that have left her unable to love or fully open up and trust people since, and she finally allows herself to grow and become the woman she was always meant to be.

Alternating with Maia's present day story is that of Izabela, who was forced to choose between her family's wishes and needs and her ultimate heart's desire. These sections perfectly transport the reader to 1920's Rio as the magnificent Christ the Redeemer statue is being constructed as well as to the Bohemian streets and artists' ateliers of Paris. These are vibrant worlds full of color, heat, passion and heartache and I absolutely loved not only immersing myself in it all but learning so much about the process of sculpting and creating such luscious works of art as the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Even with my great love of history, I have to say that, in this instance, my favorite parts of the  novel dealt with the present day sisters and Maia's discovery and transformation. There are just so many delicious questions left unanswered that I know the future novels will tackle ( What do all the other sisters' letters say? Where are they all from and will each choose to travel there and research their history? Will Star, the quiet and unassuming sister break away from her domineering sister CeCe? And who and where is this seventh sister they've never met?). I, for one, am absolutely biting at the bit to find out!

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I absolutely love it! It fits the story perfectly. The globe-like object at the top is an armillary sphere, which is "a model of the celestial globe constructed from rings and hoops representing the equator, the tropics, and other celestial circles, and able to revolve on its axis" (in case, like me, you didn't already know this) and plays a centralized part in how the sisters discover where they are each from. The bottom of the picture represents Rio and not only the picture but the warm colors do a splendid job of invoking the hot, sultriness that is Rio. And of course we have the young woman representing Maia, the sister who dominates this story. I can't think of anything else I would want out of this cover!

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of The Seven Sisters in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to continue below for more information about the author, the book, the rest of the blog tour and your chance to win a copy!

Praise for The Seven Sisters

“A brilliant page-turner, soaked in glamour and romance.” -The Daily Mail

“Riley launches her most ambitious andexciting writing project to date……a labyrinth of seductive time-switchstories, the enchanting brand of novel writing which has made Riley one of thebest women’s fiction authors on the market… An epic start to an epic series.” -The Lancashire Evening Post


The Inspiration For The Seven Sisters Book Series


Buy the Book



More Titles From Lucinda Riley

 The Orchid House
The Lavender Garden
Girl on the Cliff
The Italian Girl
The Midnight Rose

About the Author

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland and during her childhood travelled extensively abroad, particularly to the Far East to visit her father.

Moving to London she became an actress working in film, theatre and television. Five years ago she
designed and built a house on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand, where her father had purchased land many years before. Her passion for history combined with her love of travel, and Thailand in particular, inspired her to write her novel Hothouse Flower, published by Penguin in November 2010.

She currently lives in Norfolk and France with her husband and four children.

For more information please visit Lucinda’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Goodreads.


Giveaway Time!!

Thanks again to the lovely Amy at HF Virtual Book Tours I have one paperback copy of The Seven Sisters up for grabs! This giveaway is open to US residents only and all you have to do is enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to enter BOTH your name and email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.
If you would like extra entries you can follow me on various social  media sites (links are on the right hand sidebar) just be sure to leave the name/email address you follow with on the giveaway form (I check!).
That's it! I'll pick a winner on June 19th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I have to pick another winner.
Good Luck!!
Giveaway Rules 
You must be 18 years old to enter
Only one entry per household
All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

The Seven Sisters Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 1

Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Spotlight & Giveaway at A Novel Review

Tuesday, June 2

Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at Let them Read Books

Wednesday, June 3

Review at Always With a Book
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, June 4

Review at Book Nerd
Review at The Lit Bitch

Saturday, June 6

Interview & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Sunday, June 7

Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, June 8

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, June 9

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, June 10

Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 11

Review at She is Too Fond of Books

Friday, June 12

Review at A Novel Review
Review at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read


  1. OMG, this book was so good! I was hooked from the beginning as well and on audio it was fantastic. I am very curious to discover just who this seventh sister is. It's going to be a great series. Awesome rwfiew!

    1. I know, right?! I love Lucinda Riley's books and am twittering around waiting for the next books to come out (I am never patient when I want to know how a series is going to develop :) ). Thanks Darlene!!!

  2. Looking forward to reading this one! I love the promise of a bunch of exotic settings! Armchair traveling for the win :)

    1. Right?! I'm so busy that armchair traveling is just about the only kind I can do, and Lucinda's books really help feed that need! Good luck if you entered the giveaway, and thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment!

  3. I'm dying to read this one -- I can't believe it's a seven book series!! Your 5 of 5 rating has me so intrigued!

    1. I know!! Knowing it is going to be 7 lovely books long I get so tingly and fidgety, ready to read them all at once :)! I really hope you love it and good luck in the giveaway!!!

  4. Happy Friday!! I've used a random number generator to pick our winner of a copy of The Seven Sisters and our winner is....Kimberly Vaccaro! Congratulations Kimberly!!! I'll be sending you an email requesting your full mailing address in a few minutes and you will have 48 hours to give me your information before I pick another winner. Thanks everyone for entering!

  5. I couldn't put the first book down and carried on in the same way with all the others. There was so much intrigue and history in the books that I have recommended them to almost everyone I know.

    1. I'm so glad you love the series, Cynthia! I need to get back on track and read the others.