Book Review: “The Forgotten Sister” by Nicola Cornick

52024957The year is 1560, and a young woman hatches a way to escape her loveless marriage. Her name is Amy Robsart, and she is the wife of Robert Dudley, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s favorites at court. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned, and the consequences reverberate throughout the centuries. Lizzie Kingdom, a television star, struggles to find her way in life. When tragedy strikes when her friend Dudley’s wife is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the scandal breaks, threatening to ruin Lizzie’s life and reputation. A deadly secret from the past and an encounter with a mysterious young man will forever transform the lives of these two women from different centuries. Will Lizzie Kingdom discover the truth before it is too late? This mystery is masterfully told in Nicola Cornick’s Tudor novel, “The Forgotten Sister.”

After browsing the shelves one day, I found this book in my local Barnes and Noble. This is my second Nicola Cornick novel; the first was “The Last Daughter of York,” I have enjoyed both equally.

Like “The Last Daughter of York,” “The Forgotten Sister” is a dual timeline book in which one story takes place in Tudor England and the other in modern England. We begin with the ghost of Amy Robsart, the wife of Robert Dudley, wandering Cumnor Hall, waiting for someone to release her from her curse. Flash forward to the modern day, where Lizzie Kingdom is attending the wedding of her best friend, Dudley Lester, and his wife, Amelia. There, Lizzie comes into contact with a glass orb that, with her psychometry, allows her to see the history of an object. The sphere gives Lizzie a somewhat unsettling vision, but it is not clear to her what the meaning behind the vision.

Ten years later, Dudley and Amelia are going through a rocky divorce when Amelia is found at the bottom of a staircase, dead, just like her ancestor Amy Robsart. Dudley is suspect number one, with Lizzie as his accessory after the fact, just like what happened in Tudor England, since Lizzie and Dudley are so close. Lizzie is concerned about restoring her reputation until he encounters Amelia’s brother Johnny and Amelia’s half-brother Arthur. Johnny has a psychic connection to Amelia and wants to solve the mystery surrounding her death and the death of their ancestor Amy Robsart.

I am not usually a big fan of books with supernatural elements, but this one grabbed my attention. It kept my attention to the very end because even though I knew the basis of the Amy Robsart case, I wasn’t sure how it would tie into the modern case of Amelia’s death. I think telling Amy Robsart’s story from her perspective is a unique twist, and she pairs rather nicely with the contemporary protagonist Lizzie Kingdom, based on Elizabeth I.

If you want an enthralling mystery that spans centuries and is a delight for modern readers and Tudor nerds alike, you should check out “The Forgotten Sister” by Nicola Cornick.

Guest Post: “Why I Write Dual Timeline Novels and Why I Choose Present Day” by Clare Marchant

The Queen's Spy Tour BannerToday, I am pleased to welcome Clare Marchant to my blog to discuss her latest novel, “The Queen’s Spy,” and her use of dual timelines. I would like to thank The Coffee Pot Book Club and Clare Marchant for stopping by on this tour. 

I have always loved reading dual timeline novels. I love history (of course!), and although I also read many historical books, both fiction and non-fiction, I love that connection between the past and the present, waiting to find out when the two worlds will meet.

I often wax lyrical about how I am fascinated with the connections that bind us all together, whether family ties, our links to places, objects, or indeed each other. We are all woven together by the way that we are threaded together with everything that we touch. We all have special items, be it family heirlooms or gifts, jewelry, or a book; perhaps that means something special to us. Something that will eventually belong to someone else. When it comes to history, these associations take on a whole new persona as they link over the years or centuries, and I love investigating this through my writing by tying the two stories together through a shared theme, a shared connection.

In Saffron Hall, that relationship, the object that tied the two stories together, was the book of hours. I have a fascination for old illuminated manuscripts, so I wanted to use one of these exquisite small prayer books as the object that united together my two protagonists, showing how the theme, ‘while I breathe, I hope’ touched the lives of them both. They both learn that they must live with the hurt they have endured and to keep taking each day at a time until things get better – they keep breathing and keep hoping. That eventually, time will help them to move on.

In The Queen’s Spy, the object is the triptych that Tom paints, showing his journey, which mirrors in some respects the one in the present day that Mathilde is taking. They are both connected by their shared background of being shunned by society for separate reasons. By being ‘different’ and having to face prejudice and leaving them to lead a peripatetic lifestyle never accepted by those around them. They are always searching for somewhere they will be recognized for who they are and loved for it. By investigating the painting, Mathilde begins to learn more about herself and her place in this world.  And she learns the book’s theme, that she cannot change the past, but she can change the future.

The reason why I choose present-day as my alternative timeline to the Tudor one is that despite the apparent differences to our daily lives between the way we now live compared to how they did in the sixteenth century, I think it shows just how much these morals that guide us affect us all whenever we lived. We are just the same in our hearts, with similar fears, hopes, desires, and despair. People love, they grieve, they laugh, and they cry. In every life, there are shared experiences, precious objects…and precious people.

The Queen's Spy Cover(Blurb)

1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.

There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…

2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.

Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?

Buy Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Queens-Spy-gripping-historical-fiction-ebook/dp/B08R6Q4CC9

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Queens-Spy-gripping-historical-fiction-ebook/dp/B08R6Q4CC9

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Queens-Spy-gripping-historical-fiction-ebook/dp/B08R6Q4CC9

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Queens-Spy-gripping-historical-fiction-ebook/dp/B08R6Q4CC9

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-queens-spy-clare-marchant/1139196760

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-queens-spy/clare-marchant/9780008454357

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-queen-s-spy-2

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-queens-spy/id1554626619

Audio: https://amzn.to/2QRzT2K

Clare MarchantAuthor Bio:

Growing up in Surrey, Clare always dreamed of being a writer. Instead, she followed a career in IT before moving to Norfolk for a quieter life and re-training as a jeweler.

Now writing full time, she lives with her husband and the youngest two of her six children. Weekends are spent exploring local castles and monastic ruins or visiting the nearby coast.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClareMarchant1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claremarchantauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/claremarchant1/?hl=en

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3fkuf2r