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 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*