Tuesday, August 9, 2016

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick

Everything about this book was guaranteed to entice me from the title to the cover to the tag line 'Dark secrets lie just around the corner..' but most of all the blurb which not only hinted that this is a time-slip novel but recommended the book to fans of Barbra Erskine and Kate Morton. That was it, I was sold so even though the publishers were kind enough to send me an e-galley I just had to get a print edition too.
The book opens with The Winter Queen Elizabeth Stuart, a fascinating woman who I think simply doesn't feature enough in history or historical fiction. Nicola used a setting she knows well Ashdown House where she works as guide and with some poetic licence she has told the story of the house and some of it's occupants, real and imagined. This is my favourite kind of historical fiction mixing the magical and the mystical with the past and the present. In the present day Holly is searching for her missing brother Ben who vanished at Ashdown Mill where he was researching the family tree. Holly begins a desperate race against time to find her brother and discover the secrets about this fascinating place.  Holly discovers a diary written by a 19th Century occupant of the house before it was burned down and from this point Nicola Cornick weaves the three different timelines together skillfully in this deftly plotted book. Wonderful characters and excellent storytelling.
Published by Harlequin Mira. 

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