Read of the Week

The Sun Sister

Lucinda Riley

Publisher: Macmillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

The eagerly awaited sixth book in the Seven Sisters series has arrived and it delivered exactly what was expected, escapism true to the author’s best-selling formula.

The series is about six adopted sisters, named after the Seven Sisters constellation. They all receive letters and clues to their birth family origins on the death of their ultra-mysterious adoptive father. Each book explores the heritage of a different sister, delving deep into their pasts while touching enigmatically on the seventh sister, who was never found.

Riley’s best-selling formula includes flipping between the two storylines – the ancestors and the titular sister – lot’s of heartbreak, betrayal, romance, the odd appearance of famous figures or historical events, and lots of mysterious background stories which I assume is part of the hidden plot that the author has said will tie together in the last book.

This sixth book, The Sun Sister, is all about Electra, the youngest sister and black sheep of the family. Despite her famed beauty, exorbitant wealth and having everything at her fingertips, Electra is desperately unhappy and lonely. She sedates this misery with unhealthy amounts of vodka and cocaine.

When her unknown past catches up with her, Electra, the only sister in the series who is of African heritage, is tipped over the edge and the rest of the book is about her recovery from the drugs while at the same time discovering her true identity.

The only things that put a damper on the book for me were the lead character’s brief and easy recovery from drugs and the author’s now all-too-familiar formula.

The first was a dampener because, as any real addict would tell you, recovery is a painful, rough and long process, but for beautiful, perfect Electra, it is easy-breezy. But I suppose it wouldn’t be escapism if it was too raw.

The second irked me because I felt the arcs in the storyline were becoming predictable: the historical lead only having their loves requited in the closing chapters, the titular lead finally getting together with the love interest they had been dancing around for chapters and chapters, the unresolved hints of Pa Salt’s presence (could he really be dead?), everyone commenting on how they knew so little about their beloved adoptive father without taking steps to find out any more about him, and so on, and so on.

It all starts to feel a bit wearying on the sixth round. But, I’m still stoked for the release of book seven next year because I’m rather piqued by which pieces of these books will fit together in the hidden plot puzzle.

We have a copy of The Sun Sister to give away. Email with “Book competition” in the subject line before midnight on Sunday December 8 to stand a chance to win the book.