The Seven Sisters series has been a long time favorite of mine, yet somehow I managed to miss the third book!
I started off reading the first two books from the publisher and then a long time seemed to pass on then The Pearl Sister showed up for review and I assumed it was the next book, as I always seem to forget about Star in the family anyway!
But as soon as I started The Pearl Sister I realized that I had missed this book somehow, but by then I was too engrossed in CeCe’s story to put it down so I just skipped The Shadow Sister all together.
Now that I am doing a re-read of this whole series, I figured it was high time that I read this one so I downloaded it on Audible and listened to it while running errands with my son, which took a few weeks but I found that this book was a diamond in the ruff!
Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.
A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in England’s picturesque Lake District—just a stone’s throw away from the residence of her childhood idol, Beatrix Potter—when machinations lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious society hostesses, Alice Keppel. Flora is torn between passionate love and her duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a larger game. That is, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life…
As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love (summary from Goodreads).
Up until now, I have always liked the first book the best. Maia’s story was always my favorite plus she is one of my favorite sisters. Star always seemed so forgettable to me and I just wasn’t sure that I had anything in common with her. But Riley does a fantastic job creating admirable and strong stories for her ‘sisters’ and Star was no different.
I loved the setting in this book and thought it added peace and calmness to the story that otherwise might have been a whirlwind. As always, Riley balances both of the stories equally, though if I am being honest, I liked Flora’s story the most. Flora was fierce and independent and I found that I enjoyed watching her break out of her shell, but then be dampened by London society and ultimately escape to find herself again.
I also loved the little love triangle the evolved in this one and found Flora’s love story tender and sweet—and dare I say—epic because it was such a lengthy situation that brought them together. I also found a lot to love about Star and her story. In the books she is often forgettable because she is eclipsed by her sister CeCe. In this story she becomes her own person and breaks away from a lifetime of being in the shadows. I continued to find CeCe so irritating and controlling and I really felt bad for Star and was happy to see her getting her time in the spotlight.
The only thing that I didn’t care for in Star’s story was her romance with Mouse. I adored his brother Orlando, but quickly discounted him as a love interest. Mouse on the other hand had his own tragic story and I was moved by his anguish. I thought him and Star worked well together romantically, but it came so late in the story that I felt their romance was rushed and that Mouse didn’t necessarily love her, but rather needed what she represented and provided. I wasn’t necessity disappointed in it, but I just felt like more could have been done earlier in the story to dispel any reservations that I was feeling by creating a clear romantic interest and growth early on. Mouse’s story was a big one and I felt that it needed more time to breath and evolve and allow for Star to reconcile her fears by seeing how much he loved her.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and while there were a few issues that I had with Star’s romance, I still loved it and found that it ranked high up there as one of my favorites in the series so far!
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