Thursday, 26 November 2015

House of Shadows - Nicola Cornick

"London, 1662:
There was something the Winter Queen needed to tell him. She fought for the strength to speak.
‘The crystal mirror is a danger. It must be destroyed – ‘
He replied instantly. ‘It will’. 
Ashdown, Oxfordshire, present day: Ben Ansell is researching his family tree when he disappears. As his sister Holly begins a desperate search, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to an ornate antique mirror and to the diary of Lavinia, a 19th century courtesan who was living at Ashdown House when it burned to the ground over 200 years ago.
Intrigued, and determined to find out more about the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s only hope is that uncovering the truth about the past will lead her to Ben."

I am a real history geek, so when I was offered an ARC of this book by the publisher I jumped at the chance. A cleverly constructed time-slip novel, telling the story of a crystal mirror set in the 1600's, 1800's and the present day, I was reminded of the likes of Barbara Erskine and Pamela Hartshorne. I was drawn in immediately by the plot line, and supported by good, strong characters - both likeable and not! - the story really hooks the reader from the beginning. 
The three separate storylines weave together well, and I really enjoyed the way the reader gains an insight into each of the women concerned - Elizabeth in the 1600's, Lavinia in the 1800's and Holly in the present day. Each woman is living in very different times, with different things expected of them and each slip in time could have felt isolated but the way the story is intricately woven together makes for a seamless, enjoyable read. I will definitely be on the look out for more by Nicola Cornick. 

House of Shadows is out now and you can get it here:

**Thanks to the publisher for my ARC**

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