Monday, May 22, 2017

"The Shadow 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 her newest book to appear in the US, The Shadow Sister, the third installment in The Seven Sisters series, and reported the following:
From Page 69:
I could live here, I thought as Marguerite returned, having changed into a rather creased honey-colored silk blouse and a purple scarf that complemented her eyes.

“Oh my God, Star, you miracle worker! I haven’t seen the kitchen look like this for years! Thank you. Do you want a job?”

“I already have one with Orlando.”

“I know, and I’m so happy you’re there for him. Maybe you could dissuade him from spending large amounts of money to fund what is becoming his own personal library.”

“He does actually sell quite a lot of books online,” I replied, defending him as Marguerite poured herself another measure of gin.

“I know,” she said fondly. “Right, Rory’s having a fine old time opening all his presents in the sitting room and Orlando’s gone down to the cellar to get more wine for the guests, so I can sit down for five minutes.” She checked her watch before letting out a sigh. “Mouse is late again, but we shan’t postpone lunch. I presume you gathered this morning that Rory’s deaf?”

“Yes, I did,” I replied, thinking that, just like her cousin, Marguerite’s brain flitted from one subject to the next like a butterfly.

“And has been since birth. He has a little hearing in his left ear, but his hearing aids only go so far. I just…” She paused, meeting my gaze. “I never want him to feel as if he can’t do something, as if he’s lesser than anyone else. The things that people say sometimes…” She shook her head and sighed.

“He’s the most wonderful, smart little boy there is.”

“He and Orlando seem very close,” I ventured.

“Orlando was the one who taught him to read when he was five, having mastered British Sign Language so he could speak to Rory and teach him. We’ve mainstreamed him—that is, placed him in the local primary school—and he’s even teaching the other children to sign. He’s got a fantastic speech therapist working with him every week to encourage him to talk and lip-read and he’s doing brilliantly. Children at his age learn so quickly. Now, I should be taking you through to meet the guests rather than keeping you locked away in the kitchen like Cinderella.”
On page 69, Star has just begun working in a quaint and chaotic antique bookshop in London, and her employer Orlando has taken her to meet his family who live in a beautiful but ailing country house called High Weald in Kent. Star is yet to discover the extent to which her life will become entwined with that of this eccentric family and their mysterious house.

Star was at first a difficult character for me to write as she is the most quiet and pensive of all her sisters, and constantly dominated by her younger sister CeCe, with whom she has an unusually close relationship (hence the title, The Shadow Sister). This page shows the beginning of her slowly coming out of the shadows, forging new friendships, and discovering new parts of herself. Her ability to listen is one of her greatest strengths – which is what made scenes between her and Rory a pleasure to write – they understand each other on a fundamental level that doesn’t require spoken words.
Visit Lucinda Riley's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Shadow Sister.

Writers Read: Lucinda Riley.

--Marshal Zeringue