Saturday, April 2, 2016

"The Storm Sister"

Lucinda Riley is the New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid House, The Girl on the Cliff, The Lavender Garden, The Midnight Rose, and The Seven Sisters. Her books have sold more than five million copies in thirty languages She lives in London and the English countryside with her husband and four children.

Riley applied the Page 69 Test to The Storm Sister, the second installment in the seven book series, The Seven Sisters, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I opened my eyes feeling shaky with relief and concentrated on climbing off.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Theo eulogized, “I mean, the views climbing up here are spectacular, but I think this has to be best.”

As I’d had my eyes tightly shut all the way here, I didn’t know anything about the views. He took my hand and led me across some rough, dry grass, and I saw ancient olive trees peppering the sloping land below us, which fell sharply into the sea beyond. I nodded to indicate that yes, it was.

“Where are we going?” I asked him as he continued to lead me on through the olive grove. I couldn’t see a single dwelling in front of us. Only an ancient barn, probably meant for the goats.

“There.” He pointed to the barn and turned to me. “Home sweet home. Isn’t it amazing?”

“It’s … I…”

“Ally, you’re awfully pale. Are you feeling okay?”

“Yes,” I assured him as we finally arrived at the barn and I wondered which one of us had lost the plot. If this really was his “home,” then even if I had to walk every kilometer back down in the dark, I would. I wasn’t spending the night here for anything.

“I know it looks like a shack at the moment, but I’ve recently bought it and I wanted you to be the first to see it, especially at sunset. I know it needs a lot of work, and of course the planning regulations here are fairly strict,” he continued as he heaved open the splintering wooden door and we entered the building. Through the roof, in the twilight, I could see the first stars beginning to appear in the enormous hole above me. The interior smelled strongly of goat, which made my already churning stomach turn over again.

“What do you think?” he asked me.

“I think that, as you say, it has a beautiful view.” As I stood listening to Theo explaining how he’d employed an architect, and his plans for the kitchen just here and a huge sitting room there and a terrace beyond overlooking the sea, I shook my head helplessly and stumbled outside, unable to stand the smell of goat any longer. Running over the rough, dried earth outside, I managed to get round the corner of the barn before I doubled over and dry-retched.
This page for me is bittersweet given what happens to Ally, my main character, along the course of the story. Here, she is at the very beginning of her relationship with fellow sailor and captain of her crew, Theo Falys-Kings, as he shows her his ‘home’ on a small Greek Island. It is an untypical scene for Ally, as it is a moment of vulnerability – and Ally prides herself on her strength and bravery. As a professional sailor, she has an iron stomach, and a nose for adventure … but certain events throw her life out of order, and she has to dig deep inside herself to find her way to happiness. I have an intense admiration for Ally, her humour and her passion. Theo is a true match for her – he is a natural leader, intelligent and kind. They both have a zest for life, and they have each been waiting for that perfect person to share their lives with. But this is only page 69 after all, and the book is called The Storm Sister for a reason…
Visit Lucinda Riley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue