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Book review: The Missing Sister

The anxiously awaited 7th book in the Seven Sisters series by The Sunday Times number one best-selling author Lucinda Riley was assumed to be the last in the series by many, and the reaction has been mixed now that we know there will be at least one more. Mixed because we wanted to get to the background of the story, hoping that all would be explained, but thankful that we can look forward to more on the enchanting D’Aplièse family. The sisters all have amazing back stories steeped in history, with the search for their birth families. I don’t know who else feels this way, but when a well-loved series ends, I feel lost (but only until I find the next series to immerse myself in!). If you love historical fiction, with a little bit of mysticism, romance, and mystery, then this is a great series to check out.

Preview from Amazon: The six D’Aplièse sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister?

They only have one clue – an image of a star-shaped emerald ring. The search to find the missing sister will take them across the globe; from New Zealand to Canada, England, France and Ireland, uniting them all in their mission to at last complete their family.

In doing so, they will slowly unearth a story of love, strength and sacrifice that began almost one hundred years ago, as other brave young women risk everything to change the world around them.

The Missing Sister is the seventh installment in Lucinda Riley’s multimillion copy epic series.

Discover yourself at the heart of history.

Book Review: The Exiles

Summary from Amazon: The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant novel about three women whose lives are bound together in nineteenth-century Australia and the hardships they weather together as they fight for redemption and freedom in a new society.

Seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to “the land beyond the seas,” Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land.

During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel—a skilled midwife and herbalist—is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors.

Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna. While life in Australia is punishing and often brutally unfair, it is also, for some, an opportunity: for redemption, for a new way of life, for unimagined freedom. Told in exquisite detail and incisive prose, The Exiles is a story of grace born from hardship, the unbreakable bonds of female friendships, and the unfettering of legacy.

Stories from Suffragette City

My favorite genre is historical fiction, and there has been a plethora of similar books on the shelves in the last year, so when this book was published, I was intrigued. I am not generally a fan of short stories, and I think this is because if one author is writing them all, they tend to be too alike. This collection, though, with stories written by different authors (so many of my favorites!), brought this period in time to life from so many different points of view.  The Stories from Suffragette City are vignettes about women and girls (and some men) who participated in the suffragette march down 5th Avenue in New York City on Oct. 23rd 1915, with a few of the stories having threads of connection. Even though the general subject of each story was the same, each story itself was so carefully crafted and researched, I wanted to know more, so I went to the next chapter! And a whole other viewpoint of the same event by another amazing author was right there! The backstory for this book, how Fiona and M.J. brainstormed this whole idea sitting in an airport in Minnesota, was intriguing also. I was pretty ignorant of the suffragette movement and I feel that this book leaves you wanting to learn a bit more, especially about some of the historical women that were highlighted in various stories. Thanks to them, we are where we are today. This would be a great book for book clubs, as there are so many aspects of that day to discuss, with real and fictional characters brought to life.