What are you reading, Ms Klein?
For me, reading is a journey to other lands, to other times, and into the lives of fascinating individuals – combined with excitement, mystery and a little bit of romance. And I’m getting all of that from The Seven Sisters by Northern Irish writer Lucinda Riley.
Riley tells the story of seven unusual sisters. Pa Salt, a rich Swiss man with a property on Lake Geneva – whom you don’t hear much else about – adopted six baby girls from all over the world. He named them after the Pleiades, the seven sister-nymphs from Greek mythology who also gave their name to the Seven Sisters star cluster. And so the girls are Alkyone, or “Ally” for short; Asterope, known as “Star”; Celaeno, called “CeCe”; Elektra; Maia; and Taygeta, whose nickname is “Tiggy.” For some mysterious reason, Pa Salt never actually adopted the seventh sister, Merope. After their father’s unexpected death, the sisters receive an armillary sphere that gives them important clues about their origins. The sisters embark on a thrilling journey into their own past – and that of their ancestors, as they each have an intriguing female ancestor from their country of origin who lived through a fascinating historical epoch.
The Seven Sisters is a series of books, with the first focusing on the oldest sister Maia, whose ancestors were from Rio de Janeiro. The reader plunges into the exciting world of artists in 1920s Rio and Paris. Flashbacks accompany Maia’s search for her own identity in the here and now. I was particularly gripped by the way that actual historical events – such as the construction of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue and actual life in Rio and Paris in the ’20s – are woven into the fictional account.
Over the rest of the series, readers are also taken to places like Australia, where they are immersed in the world of pearl divers, and Spain, where they experience life in the cave houses of Sacromonte. The books can be read individually or in a random order as each story has its own starting point.
I have devoured all seven books to date, always in the hope that they will divulge a little of the big mystery that prevails throughout. I am now eagerly awaiting the final book in the series, Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt, which will be released in May 2023.
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley, published by Pan Macmillan.