Geneva, Norway, Liepzig, Greece: The Storm Sister – Lucinda Riley

STORM

Why a booktrail?

1875, 2007: The epic second tale about the second of the Seven Sisters taking you from the shores of Lake Geneva, via Greece, Bergen/Oslo and Liepzig

Story

Ally D’Aplièse is about to compete in one of the world’s most exhilarating but dangerous yacht races, when she learns that her adoptive father has died suddenly. When she returns home to Geneva, she finds that along with her sisters, Pa Salt as he was affectionately known has left each of them a clue as to their true heritage.

Deciding to follow the trail and find out who she really is and where she comes from, she leaves behind her sailing life and her new love affair to venture out into the most thrilling yet nerve-wracking journey of her life. A journey that will take her to the mountains of Norway and right to the heart of a famous composer Grieg and  a  little unknown singer who changed the world.

But there are some questions left unanswered….for now.

Place and setting

LUCINDA

The Aegean Sea

Greece (Naxos, Mykonos, Macheres, the Aegean sea) chora

In the middle of the idyllic and peaceful Aegean sea, sailing from Naxos to Mykonos and everywhere in between, Ally is about to compete in the most gruelling and famous Yacht race in the world. She has fought to get where she is, in what is largely a male dominated sport. Falling in love with the skipper wasn’t in her plans but soon there’s is a perfect romance and the frantic and exciting world of yacht racing, the waves slapping up against the boat, the crew banter and the sheer hard work involved in such a sport are evoked with vibrancy – the sweat and toil, danger of it all – “ All sailors are in a dangerous game and one just never knows” says Theo.

Before stormy waters change her life for ever.

Atlantis, Geneva

The magical and somewhat majestic ‘ posh orphanage’ as the sisters call their home. A place on the shores of Lake Geneva where Pa Salt, an enigmatic millionaire took six girls and adopted them. What happened to the seventh remains a mystery. Ally returns her to sadness, finds the clues her father has left and reunites breifly with the sisters before heading off on her search for her own destiny – with a book translated from the Norwegian which her father intended her to read.

Norway

Engerbret cafe http://engebret-cafe.no/ Jens and Anna meet here The Ibsen museum http://www.norskfolkemuseum.no/ibsenmuseet Essential to both Anna and Ally’s stories OSlo - St Olavs Gate Anna first lives here when she moves to Oslo to sing Sankt Olavs Gate 13A 0165 Oslo, Norway 59.918079, 10.740765 The National theatre, Johanne Dybwads plass 1 http://www.nationaltheatret.no/ Where Anna sings...
Engerbret cafe
engebret-cafe.no
Jens and Anna meet here
The Ibsen museum
norskfolkemuseum.no/ibsenmuseet
Essential to both Anna and Ally’s stories
Oslo – St Olavs Gate
Anna first lives here when she moves to Oslo to sing
The National theatre, Johanne Dybwads plass 1
nationaltheatret.no
Where Anna sings…

Somewhere in the Telemarkt area of Norway, on the banks of a mountain, a young girl Anna gets the chance to sing in a prestigious musical performance in Christiana, (Oslo) Her journey there is unusual for a country girl used to herding cows all day but soon she is singing on the world stage and her story of her life and career unfold. Her rural life becomes one of fame and fortune and events soon turn into something much more dramatic.

Life in Bergen

Life here with the music scene and on the search into Grieg and his musical legacy is a joy to discover. As Ally discovers more, she revisits the places where those of years earlier once lived and worked. From the Grieg museum where the famous man once lived to the wonderful Frokehuset with its frog symbology, this is where the musical world comes to life and the stories of past and present truly merge as a black and white photo is placed on top of layers of colour.

Troldhaugen – Grieg’s home

griegmuseum.no/en

Edvard Grieg House, Troldhaugvegen 65, Paradis, Norway

Liepzig 

The story ends up in Liepzig where to tell you how would give too much away. The musical trail takes us here to a world of opera, classical music and theatre. The story of a star with his own former glory and link to the Grieg legacy who may just have the last little thread to unravel Ally’s past and reveal the truth behind her legacy.

Both Anna and Ally’s stories are woven together bringing their journeys to the ultimate destination that unites them in one destiny – that which Pa Salt left in his legacy.

STORM

REVIEW

Susan:

There’s always one author I just know I’m going to enjoy and after having read the first in the Seven Sisters series which I loved, I was intrigued to find out what would happen to the second sister Ally.

A long book yes but not long enough really. It’s an epic read in every sense of the word from the locations around the world to the journey it takes you on musically and physically. The tales of a famous composer and one of the seven sisters is magically woven together and it’s  a breathtaking journey.

I loved the idea of Ally travelling back to a place her father had left her clues about and as she read the book he had left her, then travelled to the place we’re taken back in time to when those events happened and from Anna and Jens to Pip and Grieg, the journey was fascinating and I loved getting to know each and every one of these people and how their stories linked together and across time.

Lucinda paints and writes music with her words for there is a lot of musical content in the book  – the passion of the behind the scenes preparation, the hard work involved and that tingle you feel when a solo voice emanates from the stage – every emotion, chill on the back of your neck and musical note in your ear is vividly evoked and more.

What a read – take your time that’s my advice and savour this journey. The amount of detail, research and twists and turns makes for an exhilarating journey with many shocks along the way. The writing is like the music it describes – uplifting, flowing along with a dramatic crescendo leaving you applauding loudly and wanting more.

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Stockholm – Sweden, Italy, Greece – Europa Blues – Arne Dahl

Europa blues

Why a booktrail?

A trip to the zoo proves deadly…

Story in a nutshell

Skansen zoo is a popular sight in Stockholm popular with tourists and locals alike but there is shock when a gangster recently arrive in the city is found murdered in the most macabre of situations, his body consumed by animals.

Elsewhere in the city, a group of eight Eastern European women vanish from a refugee centre. Then an elderly professor is found executed at a Jewish cemetery, the tattooed number on his arm a disturbing sign to his past.

The Intercrime unit dedicated to international violent crime has a dark dark series of cases to investigate and their search will take them back through the recesses of history.

Place and Setting

 Skogskyrkogården - The site of the jewish cemetery Skansen  - http://www.skansen.se/en/kategori/english The popular  zoo and open air museum with the grisly secret Bofinksvagen, Nytorp, Tyresö The address they realise has a link to one of the vicitms Odenplan metro A call comes in from here

Skogskyrkogården – The site of the jewish cemetery
Skansen – http://www.skansen.se/en/kategori/english
The popular zoo and open air museum with the grisly secret
Bofinksvagen, Nytorp, Tyresö
The address they realise has a link to one of the vicitms
Odenplan metro
A call comes in from here

A macabre scene at Skansen zoo, refugees missing from a refugee centre and a dead professor in a Jewish cemetery. Stockholm’s intercrime unit has a difficult time ahead as these crimes have a dark nature to them and the investigations will leave a trail from one continent to another.

The zoo takes on a grim and grisly tinge –

They drive him towards the Skansen fence, right by the wolves, They’d probably already clipped a hole in the fence next to  it, alongside the wolf enclosure

From present day Stockholm, the crimes have their origins in greek gangsters and their links to a Milan crime family as well as what happened during the second world war. Historic crimes, an historical legacy and bad blood can have serious and deadly repercussions.

This is a grim, gritty delve into the past with murder, torture, slavery and war time butchery seeping into Stockholm’s streets. What role did Sweden have during the war and how neutral was it really? How did fascism then and now keep rearing its ugly head?

They went out there to get drunk, break gravestones and sing Nazi battle songs in the Jewish cemetery

The landscape of Stockholm now is one of ugly repercussions – and the war, the holocaust has some horrific secrets to share. The Intercrime unit is to have some complicated threads to unravel. A deeply disturbing view of nationalism is permeating every crevice of the city and beyond.

BLOGTOUR – A Greek Tragedy- Julia Crouch

The_Long_Fall_TPB_jacket

A book about a Backpacking journey that goes so  horribly wrong….

Greece  1980 – A young girl goes travelling alone and takes herself off to Greece where she enjoys exploring the islands and meeting new people.

She travels via Calais, Paris, before reaching Marseille. Some would say she should have turned back at this point. Before things really started going bad……

Travelling further to Milan, Athens and then finally to the island of Ikaria where she spends time with her two new friends Jake and Beattie. The party atmosphere is alive and well, the drink, the drugs and all that being young, free and single on a sun drenched island can entail.

But behind the  backdrop of paradise, the dark clouds are descending…..

Present day London – Kate appears to have the perfect life. A husband, daughter and a happy home. But then someone from her past walks right in to this perfect set up and suddenly it doesn’t seem so perfect anymore.

For Kate has been hiding a secret for many years and when it threatens to spill out into her current life , she will go to any lengths to protect herself and her family.

When the two worlds collide, we are left wondering what on earth we would do to protect everything that we know and to keep hidden everything that we wanted to forget.

The journey begins….

Emma's backpacking journey across Europe...to Ikaria Calais, Paris, Marseille, Milan, Athens and Ikaria
Emma’s backpacking journey across Europe…to Ikaria
Calais, Paris, Marseille, Milan, Athens and Ikaria

The setting for me was one I was once very familiar with myself- young, free and single, with a backpack, staying in hostels on a whim, meeting people and becoming best friends within a day, eating new food and just going to a place because you like the name or ‘ just because you feel like it’.  The sense of freedom and the feeling that you want to go and visit everything is brilliantly interwoven across every page. 

Each of the places on Emma’s route is described – the trains, the struggle with the luggage, the people she meets on the way…..

  • Calais
  • Paris
  • Marseille
  • Milan
  • Athens

It is when she gets to Ikaria that the adventures really begin….

Ikaris - the port town of
Ikaria – the port town of Agios Kirikos

 

I love books which have dual timelines  – in this instance the past is in the form of journal entries – which is the perfect way to access someone’s thoughts and impressions of another time.

In fact one of her diary entries starts simply – 

August 1980, no idea of the time. Paradise

Ikaria certainly sounds like a rugged sort of paradise –

On the top of the cliff is one lone tree. Some sort of oak I think. As it was growing, the wind must have pushed the trunk down and away from its roots.It looks like a giant hand clawing the earth.

But as people tend to do with travelling, sometimes the reality is different – a sign of things to come?

But when we arrived in the late afternoon, first impressions weren’t so great. We’d built Ikaria up to be some mythical  idyll with whitewashed buildings and happy smiling locals who’d point us in the right direction. But, in fact, Agios Kirikos, the main port town struck us as pretty run down….

When you’re travelling everyday life is very different indeed, normal behaviour is different, lifestyle is different, a sense of adventure is all you care about…

I found myself sitting by Emma in that tavern, sleeping on the roof (yes I have done this!) , clambering up cliffs in the midday sun, (this too!) and wandering about ‘exploring’. I really wnat to go and drink metrio – a Greek coffee in the national gardens in Athens…

The trees in the national gardens of Athens
The trees in the national gardens of Athens

On a completely booktrail level, I smiled at many a moment when books were mentioned, in relation to location. Kate, husband for example remembers Corfu as

 ‘..My family and other animals with gorgeous italian girls thrown in ‘

As Emma is travelling, she is carrying a copy of Women’s Room about wild students and also The Greek Myths about  ‘ The Creation of the World’ 

The very location featured in the novel makes for a stunning cover. Pics here courtesy of Headline Publishers
The Long Fall on location! The very location featured in the novel makes for a stunning cover. Pics here courtesy of Headline Publishers

But I digress. Going back to Emma’s situation, it is the friends she meets along the way who will have the biggest impact on her travels – 

Jake and Beattie are not the kind of people you really want to meet – It’s intriguing to see how Emma gets caught up with them for example and how they use her friendliness and easy going nature against her. Is Emma naive? Maybe, but Jake and Beattie totally exploit that.

Julia Crouch has woven a tale that is both shockingly believable and so close in many ways to what many of us will have or could have experienced ourselves. That is the shocker here -together with the twists and turns along the way, the examination of Jake and Beattie and their motivations is the real chiller here. And the fact it’s set on a sun baked island?

Horror always looks more horrific in paradise, right?

Then Kate discovers that her daughter now wants to go travelling and that she plans to go to Ikaria……..

The next chapter is entitled – Kate

Kate had nine days before Tilly’s departure

Published tomorrow, you can find out what happens then. But if you’d prefer to win one of two lovely copies that Julia gave to me after I’d fed her tea and cake at Booktrail towers, then feel free to like The Book Trail on Facebook by THIS SUNDAY 22nd JUNE at 5pm and two lucky people will win one!

Facebook/thebooktrail

With many thanks to Julia and Headline Publishers