The Phantom Tree

Next up for review, a lovely timeslip historical fiction novel with a romance. I quite enjoyed this book. I took it slow when reading it as the lives of the characters were so fascinating. Historical fiction author Nicola Cornick spins us from the present to the past and back again.

In "The Phantom Tree" we have several story lines involving both past and present for the characters. The main character is Alison who was born in 1545. But the book starts out with her living in the present. We soon learn that she slipped through time but left something very important to her in the past. She thought she could travel through time both ways any time she wanted. But the door closed and she was trapped in the present. Her child was lost to the past. She was searching for her child, Arthur, as he had been taken away from her at birth. She hoped to find him and bring him to the present.

A secondary, but also very important character, Mary Seymour (mysterious historical figure), had the sight. We follow her life in the past as she seeks love and to help Alison find Arthur. In 1557 Alison and Mary both resided at Wolf Hall. They were enemies. But circumstances encouraged them to work for each other. Alison hope's Mary left her information from the past to where Arthur was taken. Mary has a box originally owned by Alison. In the present, the box has been found and Alison with the help of her past lover Adam tries to uncover the clues within the box. Mary has left a puzzle instead of words. Alison just needs to decode the clues and find a way back through time. But she has left her love Adam in the dark when it comes to her being a time traveler. Years ago she gave up her relationship with him as she couldn't commit to a present life when her goal was to get to Arthur in the past.

Readers follow the characters through thick and thin. We question what happened to Mary and Arthur. Will Alison get an HEA or will she always be trapped in the present pining to know what happened to her babe. "The Phantom Tree" is packed with emotions for the reader and characters. For some characters, it's life and death circumstances. Not everyone makes it out alive as the book concludes.

The ending wrapped things up but left me missing the characters. I hope Nicola Cornick has more of these fascinating timeslips in the works.


Book Blurb for The Phantom Tree

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.


Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2018 4.50