Book Tour Review: The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Title: The Seven Sisters
Author: Lucinda Riley
Genre: historical fiction, general fiction
Series: Seven Sisters #1
Pages: 636
Published: May 5 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.75/5

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.

With the imaginative plot, charismatic characters, and dual-timeline structure, it's easy to see why fans of Kate Morton have discovered a new favorite option with Lucinda Riley's novels. My first foray into Riley's bibliography proved to be a success due to the smart writing, the even pacing, and my inability to put The Seven Sisters down once I had started reading. A loose retelling/reinterpretation of the myth of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades, the first novel is centered around the oldest sister, Maia and takes readers from Geneva to Rio de Janeiro. 

There are a lot of mysterious characters and histories in Lucinda Riley's latest. Maia's five sisters were each adopted, like she was. None of them know much about their past or where they came from, nor even about the man who adopted them to create his family. As Maia searches for herself -- both in the past and in the present -- Riley fills the story with an excellent secondary cast. Her present family -- the Sisters, Marina, Pa Salt -- are vividly rendered, but still just not quite on the level of Maia, her great-grandmother Bel, and Bel's acquaintance Laurent. In fact, the historical timeline in 1920s Brazil was so vibrant and detailed, it almost overshadowed its more current counterpart of the plot.

The dual narrative timeline is tricky to pull off for some authors, especially if they do not have the characters necessary to make it worth. Happily, I liked this cast a lot. They were interesting, dynamic, and not stagnant or boring. The issue with fleshing out all these people was that sometimes Riley would tell rather than show in her dialogue. I've rarely found that a logical person will say "well I am a logical person, so I am logically talking about [x]" etc. By and large, the novel's characters and dialogue aren't bluntly rendered so it really stuck out in the times that it does happen throughout The Seven Sisters.

For such a long book, The Seven Sisters reads well and easily. There were a few times when the pacing felt slightly off or the narrative spent too long in one particular timeline, but for the most part, The Seven Sisters is a solidly enjoyable, detailed, and fun read.

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

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