Read of the Week

The Moon Sister

Lucinda Riley

Pan MacMillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

I am new to this popular book series which has quickly garnered a worldwide following.

This is the fifth book in the planned series of seven but the first that I read.

Despite its popularity, I battled to get through the first part of the book and nearly gave up but I’m glad I didn’t because, by the end, I’d become a fan of the author and the series and promptly went in search of its predecessors.

The series is about several adopted sisters named after a constellation of stars.

Prior to their very mysterious adoptive father’s death, they lived relatively perfect lives in an idyllic and isolated mansion hidden away on a lakeshore in the Swiss mountains.

After his death they are each given clues which lead back to their own heritage.

Each book is an interesting genre-blend of historical fiction, romance and chick-lit.

Every sister’s heritage story is interwoven with real historical events, such as the world wars and the building of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro or famous artists, musicians and authors.

In The Moon Sister we meet Tiggy, the second youngest sister; a vegetarian animal lover with a mystical bent.

Tiggy’s story begins when she moves to an isolated estate in Scotland where she has the job of raising wildcats as part of the new owner’s rehabilitation programme.

During the telling of this part of the story, I struggled to like the annoyingly perfect lead character and her exceptionally wonderful life but things took an interesting turn when she meets a gyspy living as a hermit on the estate.

Her interactions with him spark visions of her past that lead her on a long hallucinatory journey, several generations back into her South American family, which includes famous flamenco dancers, a civil war, racial prejudices and failed romances.

These stories from Tiggy’s past are gritty and heart-wrenching and give the book an edgy twist, that beautifully counterbalances the pristine perfection in Tiggy’s modern life.

What especially intrigued me about this series are the oddly reoccurring themes and mysterious pop-up characters.

The dark and enigmatic Eszu family, the number of orphans that are adopted in the side storylines (nearly one per book), illegitimate family branches, reoccurring geographical links and secret affairs.

Initially, I thought that these were part of the author’s winning formula until I discovered that the books contain threads of a hidden plot that will be revealed in the seventh book (I had wondered what the seventh book would be about since the last sister, Merope, was never officially found).

This sparked a whole new internet quest for me and I’ve been enthralled by all the interesting fan theories as to how these threads tie-up, which was a welcome diversion from the mourning I went into after I finished the last book available in the series.

I can’t wait for the next edition, which is due out later this year.

We have a copy of The Moon Sister to give away. To enter our competition, send an email to roshiela.moonsamy@inl.co.za before midnight on Sunday February 10.

Type “The Moon Sister competition” in the subject line and include a telephone number, the name of the newspaper you saw the competition in and the area where you live in the email.

The winner of last week’s Plus One book competition was Bonnie Hoffmeister of Heideveld.