House of Shadows | Nicola Cornick | review

This book for me was a perfect mixture of history, modern day mystery and romance. I really do not like sloppy romances, it just bores me to a degree that I just stop reading, give me murder mystery and adventure any day, however, I am a fan of romance , so I am paradoxical. However, what that has to do with this review, I have no idea, I just go with the flow and type what flows from my fingers, so lets get on with the business at hand…

 London, 1662:
There was something the Winter Queen needed to tell him. She fought for the strength to speak.
‘The crystal mirror is a danger. It must be destroyed – ‘
He replied instantly. ‘It will’.

Ashdown, Oxfordshire, present day: Ben Ansell is researching his family tree when he disappears. As his sister Holly begins a desperate search, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to an ornate antique mirror and to the diary of Lavinia, a 19th century courtesan who was living at Ashdown House when it burned to the ground over 200 years ago.(goodreads)

                   House of Shadows | Nicola Cornick | Kindle | NetGalley| 448 pages| Available now

I had not long finished ‘The Phantom Tree’ by the same author and had enjoyed every minute I spent with my nose in the pages, hence the very reason why I wanted to read this too. Unlike the previous book, this is not a time slip, but it does successfully tell three differing storylines all interlaced together in perfect harmony, but separated via their timestamps, it is not complicated to read and it flows with the ease of a smooth river, but underneath has some undercurrent, which was exciting.

Elizabeth Stuart, the “Winter Queen” of Bohemia, and her supporter/champion, William Craven, in the 17th century; Lavinia Flyte, a 19th-century courtesan; and a modern-day woman, Holly Ansell, desperate to locate her brother, Ben, after he suddenly goes missing.  Connecting all three of these strands are Ashdown House, a Dutch-style country house in Oxfordshire, and two objects with dark magical powers, a pearl and a jewelled mirror.   (taken from

The writing style was the same, which was great, as I love Cornick’s ease of reading, your mind can wonder off for a moment whilst reading, but you do not miss anything, as she packs her pages with just enough info to keep you reading and turning those pages, she keeps you ticking over, so that if you do, drift off – I mean, I am still reading but sometimes my mind just goes AFK for a moment – when I come back from my zone out, It is really easy to continue reading without having to backtrack; for me this is a good thing, as my brain goes off on tangents all the time! (Nicola Cornick, if you are reading this, IT’S A GOOD THING, TRUST ME!)

Reading Progress-

July 11, 2017 – Started Reading

July 11, 2017 –


July 12, 2017 –

10.0% “I am REALLY LIKING this!
I think i have found myself a new author to follow :)”

July 13, 2017 –

28.0% “Highly entertaining:) 👍🏻”

July 17, 2017 –

46.0% “loving every minute of reading this…wish i had more minutes!”

July 18, 2017 –

100.0% “finished!!!”

As I mentioned earlier, Cornick is very good at keeping the plot ticking over and placing clues in plain sight, but cleverly not emphasing them, as not to draw suspicion and ruining it for you upon conclusion of the book.
The characters were believable and there was not a single one that I did not like, Holly the lead character in the present day parts, was a tad annoying in her stubbornness with regard to her romantic plotline, but apart from that when all the things fell into place, it was all fine and hunkeydory!

It is plain that she knows her stuff and that her research is well done, you can really tell. I love reading historical books, both fiction and non fiction and have read ALOT over the years, so it is really nice ( eugh ..that word..) to read a book that you know has a good historical foundation.
After I started reading this, I immediately went to google and researched more into Elizabeth, as my thirsty brain wanted to know more about her, I am a little ashamed to say that I had never heard about her before, so this book not only entertained me, but educated me at the same time, GG book!

Thank you so much to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to be able to read and review this, for which I thoroughly enjoyed.
It is my honour bound duty as a book blogger to review books with honestly and integrity, for which I do so, to the best of my ability.
Also to Sarah Johnson, whom I have mercilessly taken an excerpt from her blog, because she worded it better than I could!  She writes a great blog, check it out here.

  • Have you read this?
  • Do you want to read it after this review?
  • let me know either way!

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  • Megan Trotter

    I’ve just added this to my To Read list. Thanks!

    • great! I hope you enjoy it 🙂