I’m about to say something tremendous.
I think Lucinda Riley is joint with Grisham for my favourite author of all time.
I love how her stories make me feel, they’re powerful and memorable. I really feel like I’m in my own little bubble when I read them.
Riley’s greatest strengthen is her ability to entwine factual history into a fictional story, it’s her unique style which she utilises in all of her stories.
This particular story blended a love story which spread across from England to India and was set in the 1910/20s era. The characters in the present era are sent on an emotional rollercoaster to discover the truth about Anni and Donald’s son. A son that although there is a death certificate, his mother refuses to believe is dead.
Ari is led by his great grandmother’s final wishes to Devon to Astbury Hall, where Anni had spent some of her most happiest and also saddest memories. The hall is currently being used as a set for a film based in the 1920s… nicely timed for the plot flashbacks to Anni’s past. The main film character; Rebecca, becomes intrigued by Anni’s past and pushes the current lord of the hall; Anthony, to meet with Ari and delve down memory lane to discover some sordid truths about the family tree.
What I found most fascinating about this tale, was discovering how Indian princesses were treated in that particular era in their own country and abroad. Princess Indira is accompanied by Anni to a British school and, it was shocking to discover the British girls were able to see Indira as an equal; because of her princess status, but Anni was ignored because of the colour of her skin. I thought it highlighted how racial opinions can be weighted by hierarchy.
I’ve seen some bloggers ‘slag off’ Riley’s writing technique saying it’s bland and slow. I can see why these opinions might pop up in someone’s mind. But I completely disagree. Riley’s stories are long and they’re by no means a quick read but what the reader gets in return is a complex and detailed plot. Her plots are not meant to be short and punchy (like many thrillers), they’re meant to be absorbing and leave the reader with a lasting impression of this fictional world.
I’d fully recommend reading a story by Lucinda, my personal favourite is her current Seven Sister series.
Until next time, Chloé x