Latest book in Lucinda Riley series does not disappoint

The Missing Sister

Lucinda Riley

Pan Macmillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

Life is imitating art somewhat with Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series.

Fans of the series have eagerly awaited the annual book releases that revealed the history of the sisters and added more clues to the mysteries of the hidden plot which Riley alluded to after she released the first book.

In the books, the ultra-rich and mysterious Pa Salt adopts six girls from all over the world and raises them in a secluded mansion.

Each book in the series reveals the past of a different daughter. Riley has long promised that the hidden plot would be tied up in the seventh book, which was due for release last year but at the same time, she was secretly battling ill health, which delayed the release.

In October 2020 Riley posted a video to social media showing the completed manuscript which she said was headed to the publisher.

It would be another six months before the book was finally released and in that same month, April 2021, Riley posted another video announcing that the hidden plot would no longer be revealed in The Missing Sister as planned. “Halfway through I actually realised there was no way I could fit and do justice to both stories in one book,” she said.

So, a planned eighth book, Atlas, the Story of Pa Salt, was added to the series. Despite the change, The Missing Sister was not missing anything and did not disappoint. Like its predecessors, the book was full of twists, mysteries, cliffhangers and tantalising clues (including anagrams).

It more than whetted my appetite for book eight and sent me back to the vlogs and blogs where readers have picked the books apart and built timelines, minor character sketches, and comparisons to try to figure out what the hidden plot will reveal.

There we obsessed fans were, pondering these mysteries, adding the new clues, and biding our time when on Friday June 11, Riley sadly succumbed to the cancer she’d been fighting for four years.

Just like Pa Salt, whose death in the first book sparks the sisters’ adventures, she left behind a plethora of unanswered questions.

And so the answers to the mysteries may well have died with her had her son not decided to take up her mantle.

Harry Whittaker, one of Riley’s seven children, had already co-written The Guardian Angels series for children with his mother.

In a family post on Riley’s Facebook page he said: “‘Mum has passed on the secrets of the series, and I will keep my promise to her in sharing them with her loyal readers. Rest assured that in Spring 2023, the whole world will know just who Pa Salt is and why he adopted the sisters.”

I, for one, can’t wait.