Ever since I finished, The Seven Sisters, I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of The Storm Sister, which is book number two in this epic series of novels about the D'Aplièse sisters.
Cleverly, the story of the second sister, Alcyone, starts, as did the first book, with the devastating loss of the sisters' adopted father, Pa Salt. But this time round, we get to follow Ally's reaction to her father's death and of the tantalising trail she must follow in order to find out more about her heritage. The trail will take her far from her home in Geneva, will encompass metaphorical storms in her personal life, and will ultimately lead her towards a destiny she could never have imagined.
As always, the story draws you in from the very beginning; there is much to take in, not just from the point of view of the story but also of how it's all going to fit together in the overall scheme of the entire series. It's like a very sophisticated literary jigsaw puzzle and as you piece together all the complicated clues, you become immersed in a dual time story which flits backwards and forwards with comparative ease. I thought that both strands of the story were compelling for different reasons. The Norwegian thread of the story in the nineteenth century takes on a life of its own with a real sense of history; it weaves together a beautiful story of music and musicality, and speaks of lives that have been irreparably changed by circumstance. The current story that of Ally’s quest to find her true identity, is beautifully written, with a poignancy which at times leaves you feeling quite bereft.
The story is huge, coming in at a whopping 683 pages but I read the bulk of it quite comfortably over the space of a few days. Overall, I thought that this was a more thoughtful story. In many ways it’s quietly reflective, quite gentle in places, but with an underlying strength, which as always, makes for utterly compelling reading.
Best read with a glass of crisp white wine and a goat’s cheese salad.
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