The Shadow Sister is the third book in Lucinda Riley’s The Seven Sisters series. After their adopted father’s death, each of the D’Apliese sisters are left with a clue and coordinates that would reveal their true heritage, if they chose to pursue it. To avoid repeating the backstory about their adopted father, you can read my review on The Seven Sisters, which is the first book that tells the story of the first daughter, Maia. The second book, The Storm Sister, tells the story about the second eldest, Ally.
The Shadow Sister is the story of Star. The title of the book is rather apt as Star is the quietest of the sisters and perhaps it’s just my opinion, but has lived in the shadow of her sister Cece for most of her life. Not that she isn’t aware of the fact that their co-dependency is toxic, several people has pointed out that she allows herself to be overwhelmed by her younger sister – her caregiver, her sisters and especially her father (in his letter to her after his death, advising her that there is nothing wrong with following her own path, with no feelings of guilt)
Star has a hard time dealing with the death of Pa Salt. After having decided to pursue the clues he has left her, she ended up working in an antiquarian bookshop, where the coordinates have led her. An incurable bookworm (having a degree in English literature and dreams of becoming a writer), being in the bookshop amongst countless of rare & first edition books does Star the world of good when it comes to healing. She also develops a special friendship with her employer, the quirky Orlando Forbes, to which she reveals her reasons for visiting the bookshop.
Orlando, being hesitant at first, eventually warms to her and decide to help, inviting her to visit his family in Kent, where Star learns more about her heritage. Delving into the history with Orlando’s brother, Mouse, Star stars to follow the story of Flora MacNichol who grew up in Cumbria, England. Flora was a very selfless lady who chose the happiness of her family above all. This is evident in her decision when she has to choose between her family and the love of her life. After these events, Flora finds herself in London being initiated into the Edwardian society, living with none other than socialite, Alice Keppel.
As with the rest of the series, the books are dual time narrative. My favourite parts of the story I find each time I read dual time narratives are almost always the past and it has been the case with The Shadow Sister as well. I loved reading about the Edwardian era and I also liked that there were real historical figures as characters in the book, such as Alice, Violet (a writer), poet Poet Vita Sackville-West and Beatrix Potter.
Exploring Flora’s story, Star learns about various things in Flora’s life that haven’t made sense to Flora at the time, but as secrets starts revealing itself to a shocked Flora, Star herself finds herself intrigued and exhilarated by Flora’s story. Lucinda has a way of pulling you into the story and have you invested in the characters that the length of the novel is no issue at all (about 700+ pages). Her writing is engaging and lush. I, myself have enjoyed the novel endlessly. Perhaps not my favourite in the series, but truly enjoyable. Lucinda is one of my favourite authors and I will gladly read any books she comes up with and I cannot wait for the fourth book!