'My name is Mary Seymour, and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.'
Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait - supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better.... The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child.
The painting is more than just a beautiful object from Alison's past - it holds the key to her future, unlocking the mystery surrounding Mary's disappearance and the enigma of Alison's son.
But Alison's quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbours secrets in its shadows....
©2016 Nicola Cornick (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
I really wanted to like the book. Time-travelling stories can be so very rewarding, and this one with parts in the Tudor era had me buying the book in an instant.
While listening I was getting more and more frustrated because the main character seemed to be so very stupid. She is constantly asking: What? Why? Who? Where? as a device to explain to the reader some possibly unknown (for us readers in the 21st century) Tudor object or symbol. But as she is from the Tudor era herself that makes it...well, stupid.
And she constantly makes rash decisions that could cost her or others dearly, and I listened to it seriously disbelieving her capability to reason.
Apart from the that the story is falling flat, it is not very clear what the focus is: love, time, betrayal, myths, this character, or the other one? The story unfolds both too slowly and too rushed. It is sometimes badly jointed, and the ending is (imho) rushed, dissapointing and unconvincing.
On the plus side: It seemed to me that the Tudor era was well researched, it touched on some lesser known real people and the author was fairly unromantic with the living conditions of females in that time.
The performance is ok, sometimes the modulation of some of the characters was a bit grating, but overall an easy listen.
Really griping story lines. Great narration. Kept me hooked throughout.
strong characters. Twists to the storyline until the end. Very gripping.
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