The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick | A Book Review


The Phantom Tree

First of all, let me thank Netgalley and Graydon House for the chance to read and review this book pre-release. As always, these thoughts are my own. This review is spoiler-free and no main plot points are revealed.

I give the Phantom Tree 4.75 stars.

Synopsis: 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 four hundred 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.

Bestselling 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. A spellbinding tale for fans of Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory and Barbara Erskine.

I adored this book…

and I don’t get to say that very much about stories. I have a set of perfect expectations that stories break all the time. THIS BOOK is nearly perfect. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I would have given it an easy 5-star rating except for the events at the close of the story.

History, Mystery, a touch of Romance, and a touch of Magic

Honestly, Nicola Cornick did (almost) everything right. There were enough clues in the mystery to string the reader along pleasantly, and there was so much historical ambiance that honestly it was like stepping back into Tudor England. The two main characters had distinct but similar voices, and I honestly can’t rave enough about this story.

It would have been my favorite book of all time except for the ending, but DON”T let that discourage you from reading and buying this amazingly detailed, clever, and interesting story. Rarely can I say a book has held my attention (even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it!) as much as this story has.

Bottom line, pick it up, read it, and then tell me you loved it because it is a masterwork you don’t want to miss. (Do I EVER rave like this? No! You know it’s an amazing story if I’m raving)

If you like historical fiction, pick The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick up. If you don’t or have never read it, this is the best HF I’ve ever read.