Friday 6 November 2015

Review of House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick - Five *


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.

For fans of Barbara Erskine and Kate Morton comes an unforgettable novel about three women and the power one lie can have over history.


This was one of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time! Nicola gets the balance between history and modern times just right! It's my first book of hers as I don't normally read historical romance, but I may well have to change that now!

It is the story of a mirror and a pearl and the people who are affected by them through history. So we meet Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen and William Craven from the 17th Century, Lavinia Flyte and Robert Verity in the early 19th Century and Holly and Mark today.

I learned a lot about mid-17th century history in Europe - and it was all really interesting and well written. Nicola shows the beginnings of the civil war in England from the point of the European royalty, which was very different!

The love stories were wonderful! Elizabeth and William as lovers from different social backgrounds, Lavinia and Robert - again from different social backgrounds and finally Holly and Mark, who are from similar backgrounds!

The weaving of the mirror and pearl throughout the book was amazing! the people in the book were attracted to them for very different reasons and this made it all the more interesting!

I so enjoyed this book and am still thinking about it, long after I finished it!

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