‘The Lavender Garden’ by Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series captivated me, and I’ve been patiently waiting for the 6th instalment in the series which is just coming out. It’s called The Sun Sister.

But in the meantime my daughter, who also read the series, raced through all of Riley’s other novels (all stand alone) while waiting, and said they were really good as well. I’m finally getting to one and I agree with you Miriam! I’m going to read more as well. Riley has a signature style without being formulaic. Every novel is slightly different but includes a present reality and a historical flashback. The narratives do alternate, but in longer stretches which is less disruptive than some novelists who yo-yo back and forth after every chapter. And there are interesting parallels between the stories right from the beginning. This one also includes a character from one of her other novels–Venetia, who was also in The Orchid House.

In The Lavender Garden, Emilie is overwhelmed by the inheritance of the family mansion and estate in France. Being the last in her family line, she is left alone to cope when her world turns upside down. Flashback to Paris in 1944, British office clerk, Connie Caruthers’ world is also upended when she is sent for a special resistance assignment during WW2 to France.

Riley’s novels are a lovely escape because she effortlessly hooks us into the stories and makes us care about the characters and what happens to them. She is a gifted storyteller, builds suspense well, and offers an enthralling reading experience with a bit of romance and historical insight thrown in. It’s true that unlocking the past can be the key to the future, and Riley makes it so. Here is a link to an interesting Q & A with the author about the book: click here.

Note: In the UK, this book is published under the title The Light Behind the Window.

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