Goodreads blurb: “Browsing an antiques shop in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait – identified as the doomed Tudor queen Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better. The subject is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 and presumed dead after going missing as a child. And Alison knows this because she, too, lived at Wolf Hall and knew Mary…more than 400 years ago.
The painting of Mary is more than just a beautiful object for Alison – it holds the key to her past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance and how Alison can get back to her own time. To when she and Mary were childhood enemies yet shared a pact that now, finally, must be fulfilled, no matter the cost.
Best-selling author of House of Shadows, Nicola Cornick offers a provocative alternate history of rivals, secrets, and danger, set in a time when a woman’s destiny was determined by the politics of men and luck of birth.”
I came across this book on Instagram a couple of months ago and fell in love with both the cover and the synopsis. I love historical fiction as you know and I also love a good time travelling tale too. When I realised I needed one more book set in the 1500s to complete the 2018 When Are You Reading Challenge, how could I resist?
Told by both Alison in the present day and by Mary Seymour in the 1500s this was a very enjoyable story combining those two genres. I haven’t read many books set in this time period and this turned out to be a good book to start as with because of the dual time plot. It’s definitely made me want to listen to more audiobooks set during the Tudor and Elizabethan eras.
I wasn’t too sure about Alison in the beginning as the narrator (Stephanie Racine) read her as very standoffish and cold. However, as I heard more of the story I found out why she was like this and appreciated the narration a lot more. Laura Kirman who reads Mary Seymour, is a voice artist I’ve heard a few times already so was used to her style which worked perfectly for her portrayal of Mary.
As well as the historical and time travelling elements there are a few mysteries weaving their way throughout the book. As the book got nearer to the big reveal I ended up driving for longer in the car as I was desperate to find out more.
I definitely recommend this to lovers of historical fiction and time travel and look forward to seeing what Nicola Cornick comes up with next.