Lives Remembered

Lucinda Riley: 'I have learnt the most important lesson life can offer. The moment is all we have'

“Through the pain and the joy of the journey, I have learnt the most important lesson life can offer, and I am glad of it.

"The moment is all we have.”

Lucinda Riley’s death aged 56 came after a four-year battle with cancer, although for millions of her fans the news came as a huge shock.

During her treatment she had managed to write five more novels, with The Missing Sister topping book charts around the world in the week her death on June 11 was announced.

In a tribute, her family echoed her own words in saying she had "loved life, and lived every moment to the full".

“Lucinda touched the lives of all those she met, and those who turned the pages of her stories. She radiated love and kindness in everything she did, and will continue to inspire us all forever."

Born in 1965, Lucinda spent her early years in Drumbeg near Lisburn.

Her father, Donald Esmonds, was a director of the textiles firm Courtaulds and when he was transferred to England the family moved with him.

Lucinda initially followed her mother, Jane, into a career in acting.

She appeared in a 1983 episode of Auf Widersehen, Pet, playing the runaway daughter of ‘Bomber’ Busbridge (Pat Roach), and screentested in Hollywood for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

However, it was her father who was the inspiration for her writing.

Spending most of the year travelling with his job, when he arrived home he would captivate Lucinda with stories about all the places he visited and the colourful characters he met.

She wrote her first novel while recuperating from glandular fever aged 24, Lovers and Players describing the lives and loves of three young women against the backdrop of the West End and Hollywood.

And over the next three decades she would go on to sell more than 30 million books.

Over 90 per cent her sales were in foreign languages, and she topped bestseller charts in 25 countries.

Her best known series was the Seven Sisters, telling the stories of the adopted D’Aplièse family as they search out their roots.

Drawing from the myths around the Pleiades star cluster, the books aim to celebrate the achievements of women as well as the “endless search for love”.

Although based for most of her life in England, Lucinda's last five books were written in a remote farmhouse in west Cork, which she regarded as her spiritual home.

Her proudest moment was when The Missing Sister, published three weeks before she died, became her first hardback No 1 in the UK and Ireland.

Having written several key passages and left detailed notes, her eldest son Harry will now complete the eight and final book in the series.

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