The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

Love knows not distance, it hath no continent, its eyes are for the stars.”

The Seven Sisters is the first of six novels by Lucinda Riley, each book follows one sister on their journey to discover their origins. After their adopted father Pa Salt dies suddenly all six women are gathered at their childhood home, each of them receive a letter from their father with a clue as to where they were born. This first novel follows Maia, the eldest of the sisters. I connected with Maia very quickly, I too am an eldest sibling and I too struggle to open up to the world around me (I much prefer diving into books).

Maia is a brilliant linguist, she earns her money translating books but she still lives on the grounds of her childhood home even though all her sisters have spread out across the globe. I really enjoyed the first part of the book which introduced me to all the girls and their relationships with each other, I would have loved more of that, but soon after they received their letters the sisters parted ways once more. I was instantly gripped by the sisters’ stories, I wanted to know more about them and the family dynamics.

Maia discovers her roots lie in Brazil, she travels there quite suddenly and considering she doesn’t like to leave the island much I thought that was pretty brave. I don’t know much about Brazil or it’s history so I am so glad I read this book, we got to meet Heitor da Silva Costa and Paul Landowski the creators of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. The descriptions of Brazil were gorgeous, I didn’t notice I was reading at times, I was completely transported. Maia meets up with an author she has done work for, Floriano. They find the coordinates left to her as a clue lead to an old mansion in Brazil, however Maia is turned away by the elderly woman that lives there, before she leaves, Yara, who works at the house, gives Maia a box full of letters. They date back to the 1920’s and through Maia we learn of Izabela and her life.

It took me a little while to get into Bel’s story but as soon as she travels to Paris I was enthralled. Paris in the 20’s sounds like great fun, all the art and fashion and freedom of the young artists. When Bel leaves Paris for Brazil to go home and get married my heart broke for her. I found myself worrying about her happiness and well being, living in a loveless marriage for your entire life is a prison sentence. Maia and Floriano try and investigate Bel’s story more but when they head back to the mansion it is locked up and deserted. However seeing their relationship blossom was lovely, despite being a widower and single parent, Floriano is a funny, charming, bright character who Maia and I warm to very quickly.

By the end of the book I was almost crying (if I had been alone when I finished the book, I would have been sobbing) happy tears for Maia, seeing her confidence grow and seeing her move past the pain in her past which had held her in one place was uplifting and inspiring. Clearly I need to fly to Brazil, meet my soul mate and go Samba dancing. I really loved this book and I can’t wait to read all the other girl’s stories. I’m also desperate to know how Pa Salt knew about Maia’s family when she was adopted and how he got hold of her clue, although as Maia said, I fear we will never know.

Most of all, I wish that you will find love. It is the only thing in life that makes the pain of being alive bearable.”

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