- Publisher: Harlequin (UK); ePub edition edition (2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848455046
- ISBN-13: 978-1848455047
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Phantom Tree Paperback – 2016
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*I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley.com
Imagine finding a portrait of a woman people believe is Anne Boleyn but you know is Mary Seymour, the daughter of the late Queen Katherine Parr…you know for sure that it is her as it’s linked to your own family history.
What may sound like a complicated plot is far from it. It’s complex yes but intricately so and takes you on a twisty turny plot of historical intrigue.
The dual plot is essential to this story and the link between the two is just brilliantly done. Mary Seymour narrates her own part of the story. As Alison investigates from the present day, you find out how the portrait came to be done, the mysteries of a box with secret treasures inside, what life was like for Mary and her family and the fear of living in the Tudor age as a woman.
The writing was so evocative I felt I was inside the houses in the book, could hear the creaking floorboards and even smell the stale air. The book really sucks you in and when you realise it’s all based on true fact (of course with a fictional story) then it’s even more fascinating.
Nicola works in an old historical property and I can only imagine what her tours are like if she weaves a story like this! THIS really is history brought to life. Wonderful!
If you would really like to step into the past - locations are on thebooktrail.com
Starting in the present day when Alison sees the portrait that she knows is certainly Mary Seymour, she tries to explain to the person who found it ...... but how does she know it's definitely not Anne Boleyn? How can Alison explain that she was born in the 16th century and knew Mary and lived with her for a short time at Wolf Hall?
Alison can't find her way back and she is desperate to go home and find out what happened to her son. When she sees the portrait she believes that Mary has given her some clues to help her find him.
This is so much more than a time travel tale.
The two different time periods are skilfully interwoven to build up a picture of Alison and Mary's lives in the 1500's, how they disliked each other, their jealousies, how poor Mary was unwanted and unloved, all interspersed with the present day and Alison's dilemma and desperation.
It took me a while to get used to the going back and forth in time, but once I did I was absolutely engrossed. I loved the writing, it was beautifully told, I really cared about the characters, about what happened to them, and was always curious as to how it would all end and be resolved.
Nicola Cornick has written an imaginative and unpredictable tale, with twists and turns and surprises aplenty, well-crafted with memorable characters. This is a book that I'll remember for a long time. Very enjoyable!