Call Number
Material Type
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC COR Adult Paperback Fiction Book
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 FICTION Adult Paperback Fiction Book

On Order



The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House--a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, Ashdown and its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of intrigue, deceit and destiny...

In the winter of 1662, Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, is on her deathbed. She entrusts an ancient pearl, rumored to have magic power, to her faithful cavalier William Craven for safekeeping. In his grief, William orders the construction of Ashdown Estate in her memory and places the pearl at its center.

One hundred and fifty years later, notorious courtesan Lavinia Flyte hears the maids at Ashdown House whisper of a hidden treasure, and bears witness as her protector Lord Evershot--desperate to find it--burns the building to the ground.

Now, a battered mirror and the diary of a Regency courtesan are the only clues Holly Ansell has to finding her brother, who has gone missing researching the mystery of Elizabeth Stuart and her alleged affair with Lord Craven. As she retraces his footsteps, Holly's quest will soon reveal the truth about Lavinia and compel her to confront the stunning revelation about the legacy of the Winter Queen.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Holly's brother, Ben, has vanished while doing some family-history research at Ashdown, in Oxfordshire, where they grew up. This prompts Holly to dump her unsatisfactory fiancé, leave London, and move herself and her glass-engraving studio back home. As she settles into village life (aided by soldier turned property-developer Mark), her determination to find Ben sends her down a path into the history of Ashdown House, which in fact was built back in the seventeenth century for Elizabeth Stuart (known as the Winter Queen), and into the superstitions and legends surrounding a crystal mirror and a pearl that once belonged to Elizabeth and that, when used together, have a destructive conjuring power. Forays into Elizabeth's life alternate with Holly's in the present day. Her discovery of the diary of a Regency-era courtesan who was living in Ashdown House when it burned down in 1801 (a bit of artistic license here, since the real house is still standing) adds more pieces to the puzzle. Popular romance- and fiction-author Cornick skillfully packages all these elements into an enjoyable read.--Quinn, Mary Ellen Copyright 2017 Booklist

Library Journal Review

The Sistrin pearl and its companion piece, a small jeweled mirror, have been passed down the royal line since King Alexander I. Legends surround both pieces, where owners of the pearl often mysteriously die a watery death and the mirror is said to destroy those who seek to use its power for their own gain. Now Holly has been given the mirror, and her brother, who recently went missing while researching his family genealogy, may possess the pearl. Returning to her childhood home in Oxfordshire to search for him, Holly is quickly overwhelmed with the additional expectations of sifting through the troublesome history surrounding these beautiful artifacts, figuring out old unresolved personal issues and, perhaps, starting to form a solid romantic relationship. But maybe there's more help available than she realized? Three complex story lines, set in the 1600s, 1800s, and present-day London, twine together around the central mystery of the pearl and mirror. The contemporary characters display the greatest range of emotions, but that is owing more to the modern times they navigate, but all the relationships have depth. Details of where and how the people in each time frame lived and loved enrich the reading experience. Verdict Kate Morton and Alison Weir fans and readers who like their historical fiction blended with mystery, royal intrigue, light romance, and strong female characters will put Cornick's (The Penniless Bride) latest at the top of their reading list. [This title marks the launch of Harlequin's new Graydon House imprint.-Ed.]-Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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