The Winter Garden
By Nicola Cornick
What it’s about?
Sweeping across generations from the 1600s to the present day and inspired by the true story of the leader of the infamous Gunpowder Plot, Nicola Cornick’s latest historical mystery combines past and present story lines that fans of Philippa Gregory and Susanna Kearsley will devour.
1605: Anne Catesby fears for her family. Her son, the darkly charismatic Robert, is secretly plotting to kill the king, placing his wife and child in grave danger. Anne must make a terrible choice: betray her only child or risk her family’s security…and her very life.
Present Day: When her dreams of becoming a musician are shattered, Lucy takes refuge in her family’s ancestral home in Oxfordshire. Everyone knows it was originally home to the notorious gunpowder plotter Robert Catesby. As Lucy spends more time in the beautiful winter garden that Robert made, she starts to have strange visions of a woman in Tudor dress, terrified and facing a heartbreaking dilemma.
As Lucy’s and Anne’s stories converge, a shared secret that has echoed through the centuries separating them will change Lucy’s life forever…
What I think:
I have enjoyed Nicola Cornick’s timeslip mysteries before, so I was really excited to read The Winter Garden, and I was not disappointed.
Both stories are filled with interesting characters, and it’s interesting to see the similarities between them.
Lucy is looking to hide away and recover from a recent illness that has changed her life. She heads to Gunpowder Cottage, a house formally owned by Robert Catesby, a man who was part of the infamous Gunpowder Plot. Lucy begins to have visions of a woman in Tudor style clothes.
The historical timeline focuses on Anne Catesby, mother of Robert. As the matriarch of a Catholic family in protestant England, she fully understands the dangers and hardships that come when you have enemies in high places. She desperately wants her son to be happily and purposefully married and is overjoyed when he marries the beautiful Catherine.
Lucy and landscape archaeologist, Finn, start investigating the history of the house to uncover Catherine’s story and understand the grief that still haunts the house.
This is a well-researched and evocative novel. The Winter Garden sounds absolutely stunning and is richly described. The writer weaves the different threads of the story together so that you understand Robert’s motives and the choices that Anne has to make to protect her family.
Lucy and Finn are drawn to each other from the first time they meet, and their relationship helps them both heal from the pain of their pasts.
Overall, this was a compelling read that is a real treat for fans of historical fiction.
Thank you to HQ and Netgalley for a gifted advanced copy of The Winter Garden.