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House of Shadows : An Enthralling Historical Mystery
by Nicola Cornick


Overview - The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House--a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, Ashdown and its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of intrigue, deceit and destiny...  Read more...

 
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More About House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick
 
 
 
Overview
The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House--a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, Ashdown and its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of intrigue, deceit and destiny...In the winter of 1662, Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, is on her deathbed. She entrusts an ancient pearl, rumored to have magic power, to her faithful cavalier William Craven for safekeeping. In his grief, William orders the construction of Ashdown Estate in her memory and places the pearl at its center.One hundred and fifty years later, notorious courtesan Lavinia Flyte hears the maids at Ashdown House whisper of a hidden treasure, and bears witness as her protector Lord Evershot--desperate to find it--burns the building to the ground.Now, a battered mirror and the diary of a Regency courtesan are the only clues Holly Ansell has to finding her brother, who has gone missing researching the mystery of Elizabeth Stuart and her alleged affair with Lord Craven. As she retraces his footsteps, Holly's quest will soon reveal the truth about Lavinia and compel her to confront the stunning revelation about the legacy of the Winter Queen.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781525811388
  • ISBN-10: 152581138X
  • Publisher: Graydon House
  • Publish Date: October 2017
  • Page Count: 464
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.88 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Gothic
Books > Fiction > Romance - General

 
BookPage Reviews

Three strands in time

Nicola Cornick’s House of Shadows blends a supernaturally tinged historical drama à la Outlander with a cozy village mystery to addictive, mesmerizing effect.

After the disappearance of her brother, Ben, present-day artist Holly Ansell discovers that Ben had become obsessed with Elizabeth Stuart, a 17th-century Bohemian queen whose reign was so short she became known as the Winter Queen. Elizabeth eventually returned to her homeland of England amid rumors that she had secretly married her devoted protector William Craven and was in possession of a treasure with occult powers.

Holly also discovers a Regency courtesan’s diary in her brother’s possessions. Lavinia Flyte’s journal, which Cornick cleverly models on real 19th-century sex worker tell-alls, leads Holly to believe that Elizabeth’s treasure is located somewhere in the ruins of Ashdown House.

In a dreamy, elegiac tone that blurs the lines between past and present, the natural and the supernatural, Cornick stitches together connections between the three women. Even given their enormous differences in class, Elizabeth and Lavinia are both dependent on the good will of men for any semblance of power and must present themselves as objects of desire—even the (initially) happily married Elizabeth. And when both Holly’s and Lavinia’s hunts for the treasure are waylaid by unexpected romance, Cornick explores how powerful yet fragile the bonds of love can be, especially in the first rush of attraction. Their plots seem stuck in time, existing within the season of a relationship when minutes last for hours, the swirl of emotions slowing time to a crawl.

Conversely, Elizabeth’s storyline spans decades, enough time for the instant spark between her and William to accumulate years of regrets and resentments. Theirs is a tragic romance in slow motion, with both parties moving inexorably apart due to sins committed against each other, but with memories of their shared happiness still painfully vivid.

Atmospheric and elegant, House of Shadows casts a hypnotic spell.

 

This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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