The Forgotten Sister
By Nicola Cornick
Published by HQ Stories
What’s it about?
One woman’s secret will shape another’s destiny…
1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn, Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape – one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries…
Present Day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.
Moving between the Tudor era and the present day, The Forgotten Sister draws on one of history’s most compelling mysteries.
What I think:
I absolutely LOVED this book!
I’m a fan of Tudor historical fiction and non-fiction and the story of Amy Robsart is the perfect spark for a writer’s imagination. There is so much that is unknown that a writer has freedom to invent.
This is a very clever dual narrative. Tudor historical characters have invented modern equivalent and history is repeating itself in a very modern way. Instead of the royal court, palaces and banishment to country estates there ate celebrities, careers ruined by paparazzi and Twitter and isolation in luxury apartments.
Lizzie Kingdom is a former child star who has managed her public image perfectly. Her childhood friend Dudley Lester is the ex-boyband tabloid bad boy with a terrible reputation. Her determination to stand by him no matter what leaves her own reputation ruined when his soon to be ex-wife dies is suspicious circumstances.
Dudley’s wife Amelia is a distant relative of Robert Dudley’s wife Amy Robsart who tragically died in 1560 after falling down the stairs. Robert Dudley never escaped the rumours that he had killed her to marry Queen Elizabeth, and it looks like history could be repeating itself.
The dual narrative alternates between Amy is Tudor England and Lizzie in the present day. Their stories seem intertwined but how is that even possible.
Lizzie finds herself drawn to the Robsart family, even when her lawyers and advisors insist she stays away.
She shares a connection with teenager Johnny after a shared strange incident at Amelia and Dudley’s wedding 10 years earlier. If the truth behind Amelia’s death is going to be reveal, Lizzie has to accept things which seem impossible.
I loved the magical elements of this novel. I’m not a fan of fantasy but this is cleverly done. I think the idea that buildings can retain energy is fascinating and Lizzie’s reluctance to believe the truth in what she is experiencing means that the reader goes on the journey with her.
Although infantile and spoiled, Lizzie is self-aware and kind. Her determination to become more independent and shake off the celebrity hangers on and poor advice means that she really develops as a character and is someone the reader cares about.
Both Dudley’s remain selfish and self-absorbed and just vile.
Unlike Elizabeth I, who famously remained unmarried, Lizzie finds a real connection with Amelia’s older brother, Arthur. But there are so many obstacles and they both have painful pasts that could get in the way.
I won’t spoil the ending – but it’s really good!
I found this book thoroughly absorbing. I stayed up far too late to keep reading as I did not want to put it down.
This is one of may favourites of 2020 so far and a definite ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thank you HQ Stories for inviting me on the blog tour and gifting me a copy of the book. I’m looking for to readin more books by Nicola Cornick in the future.