The 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.