The Shadow Sister

Written by Lucinda Riley
Review by Val Adolph

This, the third book in the Seven Sisters series, follows Star D’Aplièse as she searches for her own family and discovers her connection to the enigmatic Flora MacNichol. The author deftly weaves together two romances, 100 years apart but linked by the house at High Weald. Star’s search leads her to the Forbes family and the house she quickly comes to love. She also loves most of the family there, despite the erratic behavior of the two men of the house: Orlando, who loves books to the exclusion of all else, and ‘Mouse,’ who seems just plain rude.

Through the Forbes family Star finds the Edwardian romance of Flora MacNichol, a woman taken from her happy, innocent life in the remote English Lake District and thrust into the whirlwind of Edwardian London under the guardianship of the king’s mistress. For reasons she does not understand, she is introduced to the king, spends time with him and receives an expensive gift from him. She is also welcomed at society events and becomes engaged to a rich young man of the nobility—no matter that he is louche and usually drunk.

The author is a master of plotting. We find Flora’s true love married to her sister, and when the king dies abruptly, so does Flora’s importance in society. Her engagement is broken, and she returns alone to the Lake District. But the story does not end there. We follow the many twists and turns of the two romances, and only slowly is the connection between Star and Flora MacNichol revealed.

This substantial book is a surprisingly quick and easy read, with engaging characters, a tantalizing glimpse of Edwardian society, and dual storylines that are inventive and intriguing.