Why a Booktrail?
1907, 2000s: The magical story of the third of the Seven Sisters – Star…
1907, 2000s: The magical story of the third of the Seven Sisters – Star…
Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father – the elusive billionaire, named Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted by him from the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to their true heritage, but Star – the most enigmatic of the sisters – is hesitant to step out of the safety of the close relationship she shares with her sister CeCe. In desperation, she decides to follow the first clue she has been left, 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 the Lake District, living close to her idol, Beatrix Potter, when machinations outside her control lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious players, Alice Keppel. Flora is pulled between passionate love and duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a game – the rules of which are only known to others, 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.
Ah where the magic is, and where the wonderfully crafted and recreated Arthur Moreston Book store is located. Ah if only this were real. It feels and smells real and the shivers of excitement when you realise that Flora has access to all these rare books and the diaries of someone who could very well unlock her future.
The city really comes to life however in Flora’s story as she goes to live with the very real Mrs Keppel who was a woman in Edwardian society well known for her affair with the King of England! Other figures of note are woven into the novel – the very high flying members of the elite London circles such as Vita Sackville West and her family. Life here is a whirlwind of parties and scandal and poor Flora is unsettled and shocked at what she is brought into. With parents up in Scotland, she feels alone but also enchanted and fascinated with Mrs Keppel and life in Portman Square
The most magical setting of the book in many ways for the way in which it takes you back to the beginning of Flora’s story and her iconic meeting with the famous Beatrix Potter. The landscape is very much a feature here as she meets the wonderful writer who struggled in life but became a much loved figure who gave so much in joy as well as land to the people of Cumbria and beyond. The very house where she lived in Near Sawrey and the landscape is stunningly evoked -” the mellow dawn light” and the “spectacle of the sun rising behind the mountains”
There are snippets of the Beatrix Potter story woven into Flora’s – their meeting and love of animals, a special letter and a friendship which would last for ever. The story here weaves throughout and much of what happens later is due to events in the Cumbrian hills.
The Kent countryside – the home of High Weald and the Vaughan family plays a major role in the story of Flora and Star. The Hall sounds amazing and it’s sad to see the disrepair but it’s a grand place which has seen generations pass through it and stories and love affairs rise and fall. This is the house Flora and Star fall in love with and Star in particular finds it a haven of peace and tranquility, a place of secrets abut also of warmth and family bonds that reveal themselves one by one..
There is also a visit abroad to the South of France but it gives away a bit of a plot point so isn’t on the map.
Lucinda’s Seven sisters series just gets better and better. Star’s story is the most magical one yet -and the locations are stunningly evocative. From an old bookshop in London, Star’s story leads us to the very home of Beatrix Potter and takes in a few large country houses and exquisite ballrooms in London along the way. To say I was in my element was an understatement. Every scene – for the book reads like the film it deserves to be – is just full of detail and evocative writing. It always adds to the story though and never feels like padding, despite the book’s length there is not a single word wasted, each builds the intrigue and the story piece by painstakingly fascinating piece. The fact that this story starts in an old bookstore and leads to the home of Beatrix Potter will delight literary fans everywhere. Very cleverly done. Magical in fact.
From the very moment Star finds her way to the bookstore, I could smell and feel the books as well as her excitement as making a step closer to the truth. The brothers – Orlando and ‘Mouse’ were such funny and vivid characters and I was as wrapped up in their story as I was in the fate of the shop. I do love a good brooding hero and these two were very distinct but equally fascinating. The past histories of two old country houses reveal a path of hidden secrets and brotherly spats. The ways families hang together, expectation and duty get in the way of free spirit and how a house can destroy as well as bring a family together – and what it means to love and be loved. There is such detail and warmth in this story, and it reads like a song.
I can’t not mention how fascinated I was to read of Beatrix Potter’s fictional role in the story. To think that she might have done what she did in the Flora’s tory (no spoilers here) just wowed me and made me want to revisit Hill Top Farm to see if I could see some extra secrets that we don’t know about Beatrix. This woman fascinates me anyway and I’m very familiar with Cumbria and where she lives so this was a delight for me to meet her in a story like this and to feel so happy as if I really was meeting her for real.
Star’s story and Flora’s past was like unravelling a really well wrapped parcel with delicate paper. I wanted to read fast but also to take my time as the secrets came spilling out one by one and really went in directions I was not expecting. There were lovely mentions of Ally the second sister whose story is featured in book two, and also a thread leading to the fourth sister’s story. I love the way Lucinda does that – so by the time you’ve read the entire series, it will be one huge tapestry of stories and locations. No wonder this is being made into a film.
I know this is a well worn phrase but Lucinda really is a born storyteller. I am as fascinated now as I was at the beginning of book one and even more hungry than ever for the rest of this amazing tale!
I was both heartbroken and delightedly happy at moments throughout Star and Flora’s story and love the way Lucinda weaves such magic in bringing it all together. All characters are so roundly developed that I feel at a loss now that I’ve finished the book and left them behind. These two women make their own destinies in their own way and it’s utterly fascinating how they do. Star is a quiet and unassuming character with a big heart and as for Flora…. I would have loved to meet her, she sounds amazing. The way these two women seemed to reach out to each other over the decades – this is skillful storytelling at its very very best.
Author/ Guide: Lucinda Riley Destination: London, Near Sawrey, Cumbria, Kent, Tenterden Departure Time: ww2, present dayBack to Results