The Moon Sister: A Novel (The Seven Sisters)
This latest installment in Riley’s The Seven Sisters series is set in a hybrid timeframe of modern-day Scotland and WWI-era Spain. Tiggy D’Aplièse is in search of both her future and her past. The young, degreed zoologist has just started what may be her dream job as a game warden on a sprawling estate in the wild Scottish Highlands. She bonds quickly with the grounds manager, Cal, as well as with the dour housekeeper, Beryl, and the laird’s teenaged daughter, Zara. While Charlie, the handsome laird of the manor, seems quite taken with Tiggy both personally and professionally, his wife is not nearly as friendly.
Zed, a wealthy guest of the estate with a murky past, courts Tiggy aggressively, while events seem to align as Chilly, an elderly Romani living on the estate, recognizes Tiggy as one of his own, and gives her the clues to discover her roots in Spain.
The story then jumps to Granada, Spain in 1913, where the story of Tiggy’s ancestors unfolds. Maria has given birth to a daughter, Lucia, who is destined to be one of the country’s greatest flamenco dancers. In the midst of both family and global strife, Lucia grows to womanhood as she follows her talent first in Spain, and then abroad.
Mystery and emotional conflict are among the author’s strong points, and while overlong in spots, the tension, sweeping descriptions, and multiple subplots catch the reader early and don’t let go. Touches of magical realism and musical culture add to the gorgeous descriptions and historical details, which are accurate without extended exposition. The cast of characters is varied in motive and style, if not so much in voice, and the book leaves the reader wanting more.