The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley is the fourth book in Riley's Seven Sisters series. I haven't read the first three novels, but I am aware of the premise of the series. These books are about seven adopted sisters whose novels reveal the truth of their genetic origins.
I recently reviewed Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate here . It dealt with adoptions that were a crime against children which is not at all the same focus as Riley's. It's important for me to say at this point that I believe that genuine parents are those who care about the children involved. Based on the portrayal of parenting in this book, it seemed to me that Lucinda Riley agrees with me. I am happy to say that the Seven Sisters series isn't about proving whether birth parents or adoptive parents are more legitimate. It's apparently about the journey of the individual sisters, and how each of them are impacted by it.
I was selected by the publisher for the blog tour of The Pearl Sister. An ARC was provided to me via Net Galley in return for this honest review.
There were two elements in the description that interested me. The first is that CeCe, the protagonist, is an artist. I love reading about artists. Last year I reviewed a novel that contained a female character who lived in impressionist Claude Monet's village, and aspired to be a great artist like Monet. It was called Black Water Lilies and I reviewed it here. The other theme in The Pearl Sister which I find fascinating is Australian aborigine history and culture.
I have to say that the opening section of this novel which took place in Thailand didn't impress me. CeCe seemed to be drifting, and I didn't consider her an example of a strong woman protagonist at that point. The past to which she wanted to connect was in Australia, not Thailand. I just wanted her to get on with it. Other readers may be interested in CeCe's relationship with a male character known to her as Ace. I could have done without it. I thought it was an irrelevancy.
We are introduced to the Australian background by means of Kitty, an early 20th century British immigrant to Australia. I considered her an ambivalent character. She was appealing to me when she made unconventional choices, but became increasingly unsympathetic over time. Some readers may see her role in business as feminist, but I didn't consider this a positive development in her life because she wasn't fulfilling her own ambitions. I didn't admire the fact that she was making herself unhappy.
It was at this point that the sections devoted to CeCe's life showed her in a more active phase in which she reclaimed her sense of self, and renewed her own aspirations with the help of Australian aborigine sources of support. CeCe came into her own as a protagonist at the same time that Kitty receded for me. It became very much CeCe's story, and I was pleased with the arc of her development as a character.
The final section transitions to the next book in the series which will apparently be focused on Tig who feels strongly connected to animals and is a passionate advocate for their rights. Since this is a focus that is of great importance to me, I look forward to the fifth Seven Sisters novel.