The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve had this book for a while now and have just finished reading it. It is the 5th book in Lucinda Riley’s series, The Seven Sisters and as I’d only read the first book I thought I’d read the other three books first before this one, so that I could read them in order. But as the 7th book, The Missing Sister, will be published in May I thought I had better read The Moon Sister now. The books are based on the legends of The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades. Although this is just one in the series I think it reads very well as a standalone book.

I loved this book, about Tiggy D’Apilese, the fifth sister adopted by Pa Salt and brought up in their childhood home, ‘Atlantis’ – a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva. The sisters are all named after the stars in the Pleiades star cluster. Tiggy’s star name is Taygete. Pa Salt had died earlier in the year and had left clues for each girl so that if they want they can discover who their parents were and the circumstances of their birth. Tiggy is her nickname after the hedgehog Mrs Tiggy-winkle from the Beatrix Potter book – and because when she was born her hair stuck up in spikes.

The book description summarises this long and detailed (769 pages) book, and I don’t intend to go into much more detail about the plot. The story begins in the Scottish Highlands where Tiggy works as a wildlife consultant, then moves to Sacromente in Spain, then onto Portugal, South America and New York before moving back to the Highlands as Tiggy finds out about her birth and her family history.

Blurb:

After the death of her father – Pa Salt, an elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters from around the globe – Tiggy D’Aplièse , trusting her instincts, moves to the remote wilds of Scotland. There she takes a job doing what she loves; caring for animals on the vast and isolated Kinnaird estate, employed by the enigmatic and troubled Laird, Charlie Kinnaird.

Her decision alters her future irrevocably when Chilly, an ancient gipsy who has lived for years on the estate, tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense, passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home to Granada in Spain . . .

In the shadow of the magnificent Alhambra, Tiggy discovers her connection to the fabled gypsy community of Sacromonte, who were forced to flee their homes during the civil war, and to ‘La Candela’ the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation.

From the Scottish Highlands and Spain, to South America and New York, Tiggy follows the trail back to her own exotic but complex past. And under the watchful eye of a gifted gypsy bruja she begins to embrace her own talent for healing.

But when fate takes a hand, Tiggy must decide whether to stay with her new-found family or return to Kinnaird, and Charlie . . .

The modern day story is interesting, about her work on the Kinnaird Estate (based on Alladale Wilderness Reserve), but I felt that her relationship with the Laird was rather naive, and at the end of the book how that was resolved felt contrived. But I loved the episodes in which Tiggy meets Chilly, and those with the deer and the white stag. Chilly is the old gypsy, who she befriended. He calls her ‘Hotchiwitchi’, Romany for hedgehog, and tells her that she has a special gift in her hands to heal animals. He also tells her that she should go to the seven caves of Sacromente, where she was born. Tiggy sees a white stag, which she calls Pegasus and tries to protect him from poachers, when news got out he was on the Estate. White stags are revered; there a several myths about them – one being that Tiggy’s mythical counterpart, Taygete, who was a companion of the Greek deity Artemis, ‘the Mistress of Animals’, was being pursued by and to protect her Artemis turned her into a doe.

But the most interesting and fascinating part of the book for me is the story of Tiggy’s , grandmother, Lucia Amaya-Albaycin, who became a famous flamenco dancer. She is the dominant character in the book, and not a particularly likeable character as she was totally self-absorbed, and obsessed with furthering her career. Flamenco dancing was her passion and took priority over everything else.

Lucia was also born in in a cave in Sacromonte, the sacred mountain just outside the eastern city walls of Granada in Andalusia, within sight of the Alhambra. She was a ‘gitano’ and lived her life to dance. She was born in poverty and her family struggled to survive. During the Spanish Civil War their neighbourhood was devastated, suffering famine and hardship – one of Lucia’s brothers was imprisoned in terrible conditions. She and her father, together with their troupe of dancers fled to Portugal and then went to Argentina and eventually on to New York, where Lucia was forced to choose between her career and the man she loved. But the spirit of the ‘duende’, possessed her as it surged up from the soles of her feet as she danced, encompassing her whole body, and soaring out of her soul.

Lucinda Riley is a wonderful storyteller and her descriptions of the grandeur and beauty of both Granada and the Scottish Highlands entranced me.They are so beautifully and vividly described that I was transported back in time and place, seeing the events unfold before my eyes.

Many thanks to the the publishers via NetGalley for my digital review copy.

  • ASIN : B07F72TKSX
  • Publisher : Macmillan (1 Nov. 2018)
  • Language : English
  • File size : 1255 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 769 pages

The seven books are:

  1. The Seven Sisters (2014)
   2. The Storm Sister (2015)
   3. The Shadow Sister (2016)
   4. The Pearl Sister (2017)
   5. The Moon Sister (2018)
   6. The Sun Sister (2019)
   7. The Missing Sister (2021)

My Friday Post: The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

This week my Friday quotations are from The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley, the second book in her Seven Sisters series of books based on the legends of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades. I read the first book, The Seven Sisters two years ago and loved it, so I’m hoping I’ll love this one too.

It begins:

I will always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that my father had died.

I was lying naked in the sun on the deck of the Neptune, with Theo’s hand resting protectively on my stomach.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to Page 56 or 56% on your  ereader . If you have to improvise, that is okay. *Find a snippet, short and sweet, but no spoilers!

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.
  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

Ally, please forget about the other boat being there – it’s irrelevant. But the fact that you were there to see the place where Pa chose to be buried is actually comforting.

~~~

About the book:

Ally D’Aplièse is about to compete in one of the world’s most perilous yacht races, when she hears the news of her adoptive father’s sudden, mysterious death. Rushing back to meet her five sisters at their family home, she discovers that her father – an elusive billionaire affectionately known to his daughters as Pa Salt – has left each of them a tantalizing clue to their true heritage.

Ally has also recently embarked on a deeply passionate love affair that will change her destiny forever. But with her life now turned upside down, Ally decides to leave the open seas and follow the trail that her father left her, which leads her to the icy beauty of Norway . . .

There, Ally begins to discover her roots – and how her story is inextricably bound to that of a young unknown singer, Anna Landvik, who lived there over a hundred years before, and sang in the first performance of Grieg’s iconic music set to Ibsen’s play ‘Peer Gynt’. As Ally learns more about Anna, she also begins to question who her father, Pa Salt, really was. And why is the seventh sister missing?

~~~

What do you think – would you read this book?

My Friday Post: The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley is one of the books on my 20 Books of Summer list and it’s also one of my TBRs. I recently finished reading it. It’s the first book in her Seven Sisters series of books based on the legends of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades. 

seven sisters ebook

I will always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that my father had died.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

‘Presumably, you had a tough night last night, Maia, dealing with Electra’s usual histrionics? said Ce-Ce.

‘As a matter of fact, for Electra, she was relatively calm,’ I answered, knowing there was little love lost between my fourth and fifth sisters. Each was the antithesis of the other: Ce-Ce so practical and loath to show any emotion, and Electra so volatile.

Blurb:

Maia D’Aplièse 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, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died. Maia and her sisters were all adopted by him as babies and, discovering he has already been buried at sea, each of them is handed a tantalising clue to their true heritage – a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of where her story began . . .

Eighty years earlier, in the Belle Epoque of Rio, 1927, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is working on a 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 cafés of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

My thoughts:

I knew very little about this series when I began reading the book, but I was soon caught up in this family saga. It’s not crime fiction but there is plenty of mystery – first of all why are there only six sisters, not seven? Who was Pa Salt and why did he adopt these  girls from the four corners of the globe when they were babies? He has died before the book begins and immediately buried and, as I read a lot of crime fiction, my first thought was –  why was he adamant that as soon as he died his body was to be buried at sea, with none of the girls present? And I wondered if he had really died? Please don’t tell me the answers to my questions – I intend to read all the Seven Sisters books, when I hope all will become clear.

Pa Salt has left clues for each girl so that if they want they can discover who their parents were and the circumstances of their birth. Having introduced all the sisters Maia’s story unfolds and it is an amazing story, taking her back to Brazil, the country of her birth. It’s beautifully written and completely convincing and I raced through it eager to find out the details of Maia’s family history.

I loved all the details about the building of the statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain in the Carioca Range, overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro and how Lucinda Riley incorporated it so seamlessly into Maia’s story.

Have read this book? What did you think about it? And if you haven’t, would you keep on reading?

For more about the series see Lucinda Riley’s website, where she explains why she based the books on the legends of The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades and about the details of her extensive research for each story.

I’ll be reading the next book – The Storm Sister as soon as possible. The six books in the series are:

1. The Seven Sisters (2014)
2. The Storm Sister (2015) – Ally (Alcyone)
3. The Shadow Sister (2016) – Star (Asterope)
4. The Pearl Sister (2017) – CeCe (Celaeno)
5. The Moon Sister (2018) – Tiggy (Taygete)
6. The Sun Sister (2019) – Electra

The seventh sister is Merope – in the cast of characters at the beginning of the first book she is described as ‘missing’ …

The Seven Sisters:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2822 KB
  • Print Length: 641 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market edition (6 Nov. 2014)
  • Source: I bought the book
  • My Rating: 5*

The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

The Butterfly Room

Macmillan|2 May 2019|624 pages|Review copy|4*

If you love family sagas spanning generations then you’ll love The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley. This is a standalone novel and the first book by Lucinda Riley that I have read, although I have some of her Seven Sisters series waiting to be read.

The story revolves around Posy Montague and her family home, Admiral House in the Suffolk countryside, a house that had been in her family for generations. The narrative alternates between the different periods of her life from her childhood in the 1940s to the present day in 2006 as she nears her seventieth birthday. It is not a fast paced book but moves in a leisurely fashion through the various decades building a complex picture of her life.

Her early childhood years were idyllic spent with her parents at Admiral House. It was then that her love of nature began as her beloved father encouraged her to draw plants and showed her how to catch butterflies. The Butterfly Room in the Folly in the grounds of Admiral House plays an important role in the book. As a child Posy thought it looked like a fairy-tale castle with its turret made of yellow sandy brick. It was there that her father spent a lot of time on his own and she imagined it as a place where fairies and their butterfly friends lived. However, as the story developed it was clear to me that the Folly was not the wonderful place she imagined – and there is a dark secret hidden behind its locked door.

After a period spent with her grandmother in Cornwall and her time at Cambridge University followed by a job at Kew Gardens, she married and returned to Admiral House where she brought up her two sons. Years later the house is in desperate need of restoration, which Posy can’t afford and she is faced with the prospect of selling it, despite all the memories it holds and the beautiful garden she had created in the grounds.

But life is never straightforward for Posy and her two sons both present her with almost insurmountable problems. Then Freddie arrives on the scene, a man who broke her heart fifty years earlier when he suddenly ended their engagement without any explanation. He is still reluctant to tell her why and much as she wants to trust him she hesitates.

There is so much more in the book than I’ve mentioned here, too much to reveal in this post without spoiling the story.  I used to read family sagas like this years ago, books I used to race through and read one after another. I don’t think they have quite the same appeal to me these days, but I did enjoy it, and even though I think it is too long, it kept my attention to the end. Maybe because I read a lot of crime fiction I could see what would happen to some of the characters, but as for the secret of the Butterfly Room, I guessed some of the truth, but not the whole secret! It reads well, is a page-turner, full of interesting situations and believable characters. A minor criticism, which is purely personal, is that I became so tired of Posy addressing her family and friends as darling/dear boy/girl so often.

Many thanks to the publishers, Macmillan for my review copy via NetGalley.