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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Have you been to a museum and wondered about the all the beautiful artifacts, about the stories that each item would say, if at all they had a voice? I have visited the Mysuru Palace (https://www.mysorepalace.gov.in/) in India umpteen number of times and each time the display has managed to bewitch me. The magnificent aura that those old palaces exude is frankly, beyond words.
House Of Shadows by Nicola Cornick is a book written with love for all fans of historical fiction. The story is so beautifully immersive and utterly compelling that Ashdown House burns bright for a reader. There are 3 parts in the book with actual historical facts interwoven so brilliantly that it feels like walking alongside each character in the story.
It was fascinating to read about the winter queen and her devoted cavalier and truthfully, the historical facts that make the story is even more spectacular and stranger that the story itself. Nicola Cornick has explained her passion for Ashdown House after having worked there and it is easy to see the allure that the rich history of the house holds for the author. To weave 3 strands of story with suspense and mystery adding to the intrigue, House of Shadows succeeds in keeping the reader mesmerised and entranced.
Each segment of the story, with Elizabeth in 1662, Lavinia in 1801 and Holly in the present is captivating as the Sistrin Pearl and the jewelled mirror binds these women across centuries with its cursed prophecies. The mystery of Holly’s missing brother and the ensuing drama which is the main point around which the story begins, in fact begs for attention as the story of Lavinia and the winter queen takes precedence. I loved the romance between Holly and Mark even though all that insta-love and bound for centuries connection had me rolling my eyes.
Absolutely enthralled with the flawless story-telling by Nicola Cornick!
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, its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of romance, deceit and destiny…
Bound by sex and birth to live for everyone but herself–and to love always in secret–Elizabeth Stuart entrusts a pair of arcane artifacts to her faithful cavalier to keep safe for her rightful heir. But fate will not be generous to the Winter Queen, throwing the question of succession into turmoil, the aftermath of which will resonate through the generations.
Lavinia Flyte wanted so much more from life than to be a courtesan at the mercy of the cruel Lord Evershot. He has brought her to Ashdown, the home of his ancestors, for reasons he guards greedily. But the maids’ whispers of hidden treasures–a pearl with the power to foretell the future–consume her with a curiosity she confides only to her diary, unaware of the misfortune that threatens.
And the mystery that binds them
Alarmed to hear her brother has gone missing at Ashdown Park, Holly Ansell is inexplicably drawn to the clues contained in the journal of a Regency courtesan who was living at the historic home when it burned to the ground two hundred years ago. Lured by the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s search leads her not only to the truth about Lavinia, but deeper into her own connection with the Winter Queen.
For fans of Kate Morton and Barbara Erskine comes an unforgettable novel about the power one lie can have over history.
AMAZON INDIA : https://amzn.to/3snnly8
This review is published in my blog https://rainnbooks.com/, Goodreads, Amazon India and Twitter.