Pa Salt leaves his daughter Star a small figurine in the shape of a black panther, as well as a letter directing her to an antiquarian bookshop in London. Star and her sisters were each adopted from various parts of the world and raised on Pa Salt’s magnificent estate on the shores of Lake Geneva. They’ve grown up well, never acting spoiled as a result of their lives of privilege, but each feels lacking in some way, compelled to discover their birth heritage. By leaving them mysterious clues, their adoptive father helps to set them on a journey which not only reveals their past but also charts their future.
Named after a constellation of stars, the first sister Maia goes to Brazil in The Seven Sisters which is also an introduction to the series. The second sister Ally, goes to Norway in The Storm Sister. In this instalment, Star steps out from the shadow of her sister to go to the Lake District and Kent, entering the world of British aristocracy in the Edwardian era.
The historical aspect of this fiction series is definitely its strength and is what intrigues me the most. Even though these books are cosy, romantic sagas to sink into, the amount of research that went into the real people behind the stories, raises these novels to a higher level with wide appeal.
Though Flora MacNichol is a fictional character, her life as it entwines with Alice Keppel, King Edward the VII, and Beatrix Potter is fascinating. There is also an unrelated but interesting real life connection to Prince Charles and Camilla which I will let you discover on your own. Lucinda Riley’s website provides a great deal of information about the true stories behind the books, for further reading pleasure, here is the link.