Monday, September 10, 2018

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

Historical Fiction

Allison Bannister has been tracking the history of Mary Seymour, daughter of Queen Katherine Parr. When she comes across a recently discovered portrait of Anne Boleyn, Allison knows better and that it's truly Mary. Allison knows this because she lived with Mary in Wolf Hall before she made the leap in time to current day. Allison was a teenager living in Wolf Hall when she fell in love with her cousin and steward of the house Edward Seymour. She ended up getting pregnant and sent away then her child was taken from her when she gave birth. She roomed with Mary and though they hated each other at first, they needed each other and grew to respect each other. Mary had special abilities to see the future so Allison looked to Mary to help her find her son Albert. Mary looks to Allison to save her from being tried as a witch.

The story is told from Allison and Mary's perspective. Allison is in current time to survive and see if she can't find her son through history. Mary is in the 1500s, after being pushed aside. Both struggle with similar problems despite the time gap and they never forget the promises they made to each other. Allison is not only searching for her son, but also her friend Mary to find out what happened to her.

Mary Seymour's story in real life is pretty mysterious, so Cornick takes what history knows and builds around that quite well. The magical/fantastical element makes this unrealistic but it's still a fun 'what if' story.

The historical fiction and character relationships were the best part of this book. Mary's story from the 1500s seemed well researched and flowed very well. The relationship between Mary and Allison, as well as any of the other characters was believable and endearing.

Where this book lacked was in the time travel element. Allison traveled forward in time by 500 years yet had no problem coping with any of the technical or cultural changes. She was driving a car (how?) and wearing modern clothes without issue. Characters had no problem believing that she was a time traveler. It was a tough pill to swallow and it nagged at me throughout the entire book.

Despite this, it's still worth picking up and reading!

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour! If you're interested in purchasing the book you can do so here.


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