Monday, May 1, 2017

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

Filled with romance, drama, mystery and intrigue The Phantom Tree is Nicola Cornick’s follow up to the hugely popular House of Shadows and once again the story is inspired by a real historical figure. The inspiration is Mary Seymour daughter of Katherine Parr; Henry VIII’s last Queen and her fourth husband Thomas Seymour. Mary’s mother died in childbirth and her father was executed for treason after which she disappears from historical records. Nicola Cornick uses this mystery of Mary’s life and death to weave an exciting tale of secrets, treachery and time travel. Alison is wandering the streets of modern day Marlborough when she sees a familiar face in a Tudor portrait. Although the shop owner is insistent that the portrait is of Anne Boleyn, Alison knows that it’s Mary Seymour and that it is a vital clue to finding out what happened to Mary and to her own son. The time slip tale is narrated by Mary in the Sixteenth century and Alison in the present day and is carefully handled as the secrets and stories twist and turn. With the help and occasional hindrance of handsome TV historian and writer Adam, Alison is determined to uncover Mary’s story. However, to do that she will eventually have to reveal her own secrets; her lost son; her chaotic childhood at Wolf Hall and her real identity. The two narrative threads are carefully handled and the story is a genuine page turner. Perfect for fans of Tracy Rees, Barbara Erskine and Kate Riordan 

Published by HQ
This review originally appeared in Historical Novel Review Issue 80 May 2017 and can be viewed here

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