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#NetGalley #BookReview The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag ‏ #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Review

Wolf and the Watchman Cover

The Wolf and the Watchman

by Niklas Natt och Dag

Release date: March 5th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Wolf and the Watchman
by Niklas Natt och Dag from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty…. “

When I came across this book I was intrigued and it didn’t disappoint. Well-written, clever, intricately plotted with well rounded, characters it kept me immersed in the story…. however, I issue a word of caution to sensitive readers… this book is graphic 

For his debut novel, Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty, the distention between the classes and the depravity of the seedy underbelly of a divided Stockholm in 1793. 

Mickel Cardell a watchman and ex-soldier, is haunted by his past and learning to deal with the loss of his arm. When Mickel is called upon to fish a body out of the water he is overwhelmed by what he finds. An unknown young male, missing all four limbs, his tongue and eyes appear to all removed surgically prior to his death. When Cecil Winge, an attorney and consultant for the Swedish Police asks for his assistance, being an amputee himself Cardell cannot help but feel a connection to this poor victim and agrees.   

Winge and Cardell are just two of the characters we meet along the way. There are two others, Kristofer Blix and Anna-Stina Knapp who we watch struggle and survive.  

Kristof, a teen and former medic’s assistant from the country heads to Stockholm with hopes of becoming an elite and attending medical schoolWhen he finds it’s a lot harder than he thought he makes errs in judgement and in desperation he gets caught up in something so depraved it will haunt him for the rest of his life. A fatherless teen Anna-Stina raise in poverty and forced to struggle most of her life, loses the one person who means the most to her and is abandoned to a corrupt system. When she is falsely convicted of a crime and thrown into prison her situation becomes more perilous.
 

As the story unfolds and we get to the bottom of this horrendous crime the lives of these four become intertwined and we follow along on their journeys. The author’s portrayals are unique and add such depth to the story as does his descriptions of Stockholm which is written so vividly it almost becomes a character in its own right.  

I have to say that this is perhaps the most difficult review I have had to write, I really feel the book was well-written and clever but it definitely had a darkness that at the end of it left you with a queasy feeling or as I call it the “Ich” factor. It kept me engrossed which in my mind is what reading is all about.  Not for the faint of heart but I recommend it! 

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#NetGalley #Book #Review The Woman in the Lake by @NicolaCornick ‏#HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Magic

Review

The Woman in the Lake Cover

The Woman in the Lake
by Nicola Cornick

Release date: February 26th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick from NetGalley and Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) in order to read and give an honest review.

“Murder, mayhem and mysticism all crafted into a spellbinding tale…. “

I have become a huge fan of Nicola Cornick‘s work in recent months. I love her style!  She has an incredible ability to immerse the reader into whatever historical period she is writing about. Cornick intricately weaves details within her stories so seamlessly that the reader is automatically transported without forcing the reader to endure the dreaded “info dump”. The Woman in the Lake is no different. 

Set in present-day Swindon the reader travels back and forth from 1765.  The story is told from three viewpoints.  In 1765 we hear from Lady Isabella Gerard and her personal maid Constance. Both women are very different from the other women of their time. Lady Isabella is stuck in an abusive marriage to a corrupt businessman and smuggler. Always living in extreme danger from her husband she finds solace in another man‘s arms.  Her husband gives her a gift of a beautiful but deadly silk golden gown, a gown which leaves devastation in its wake.  Constance learns the secret behind the gown and wants to expose it but what will it cost her?

We also meet college design teacher, vintage item dealer and reformed kleptomaniac, Fenella Brightwell. 

On a school trip as a teenagerFenella steals the golden gown from a small historical museum. Once in her possessionFenella‘s life spirals out of control.  Present day Fenella now an adult is struggling to start a new life after escaping from an abusive marriage, bad divorce and the death of her grandmother. Her sister sorting through their Grandmother’s home discovers the gown with cryptic handwritten notes from their grandmother with the word danger written on them. The gown then mysteriously finds its way back to Fenella. Once the gown is returned back to Fenella, her life begins to spiral out of control again and her past comes back to haunt her. 

Murder, mayhem and mysticism all crafted into a spellbinding tale sure to keep you engaged into the wee hours of the morning. I would highly recommend The Woman in the Lake. 

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#NetGalley #Book #Review The Psychology of Time Travel A Novel by Kate Mascarenhas #Mystery #TimeTravel #Fantasy

Review

Psychology of Time Travel Cover

The Psychology of Time Travel

by Kate Mascarenhas

Release date: February 12th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel
by Kate Mascarenhas NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

… A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. 

I have always been a huge fan of time travel stories. Kate Mascarenhas’s debut The Psychology of Time Travel focuses on what happens to people’s psyche when they travel back and forth in time. What would happen if you could go back in time whenever you wanted and spend a day with loved ones who have passed away? Would it change how you view death? Would you take life for granted? The Psychology Of Time Travel answers these questions.

When four women discover time travel in 1960’s they launch an empire for themselves called “The Conclave” When one of the pioneers, Barbara suffers from a very public psychotic episode she is removed from the team and ostracized. The beginning of the book lays the groundwork for each of their personal journeys and how they adjust to the ability to travel and to meet their future or “silver” selves. Some flourish, some flounder, except for Barbara who is not allowed back and not only loses her purpose but her friends too.

The book picks up in the modern day when Barbara receives a cryptic clue of a death notice about an elderly woman who is murdered in the future. Barbara and her psychologist granddaughter Ruby begin trying to unravel the pieces. There is also a suspicious and puzzling murder of a woman in a small museum which occurs in a locked room with no way in or out. The body is damaged beyond recognition, no one is certain who it is, why they were there or how it happened. When a young museum worker Odette finds the body, she is traumatized, ends up seeking counsel from Ruby and can’t rest until she finds out what happened. Odette follows her suspicions and even goes undercover at the Conclave to get to the bottom of it. How could she solve a murder where the murderer could slip in an out of time?

Told from various viewpoints and throughout various time periods, this book tracks multiple characters jumping back and forth in time, some even meeting their future selves in the same room. It takes a while to catch onto which “version” of the character is present.

A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. Mascarenhas has created a very character driven novel with multifaceted characters who you grow to care about.

Definitely, an emotional roller coaster filled with mystery and fantasy. I look forward to reading more from this author. Highly recommend!

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New Release Announcement for Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore by @LynnHallbrooks #cozy #fantasy #shortstory # SCCA4


Have you ever wanted to know more when a short story ended? Sometimes a story is written to certain stipulations and when it’s finished it leaves more questions than answers. Lynn Hallbrooks has paired up some of her earlier short story works with companion pieces. She allowed her imagination to blend talented animals, mythical beings, and real-life happenings in a relative clean, cozy fantasy short story collection she named, Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore. Come for the cat and stay for the attitude. There is something for everyone at all ages.
The publication date of February 11, 2019, allows readers time to enjoy it for Valentine’s Day (February 14th) or any other day they choose.
The eBook is available in various locations and these links should take you there.
Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6C2FB3
Amazon global link: mybook.to/SCCA4
Multiple vendor link: https://books2read.com/SSCA4

Author biography:
Lynn Hallbrooks enjoyed writing poetry and short stories as a teenager. After high school, she served her country in the US Air Force. While there she learned a career that spanned 30 years. In 2010 she switched to the writing business where she has learned a lot while reading books by and working with fellow authors. More recently she started a website to provide resources for authors and readers known as Author Reader Cheerleader.

You are invited to visit either of her websites.
Books and Business: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/
Author and Readers: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

You can follow her on Twitter:
ARCLynn: https://twitter.com/LHallbrooks
CSWCLynn: https://twitter.com/CSWCLynn
LynnHallbrooks: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks

If you visit BookBub for book discounts and recommendations, you can follow her there: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lynn-hallbrooks

Or if BookGorilla is your favorite book discounter then follow her here: https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B0050ZOGAA/lynn-hallbrooks/kcc

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir #Nordic Noir #TheReckoning #Mystery #Thrillers

The Reckoning

(Children’s House #2)

by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Release date: February 12th, 2018

The Reckoning Cover

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I received a complimentary ARC copy The Reckoning (Children’s House #2)
by Yrsa Sigurdardottir from NetGalley & St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir the Queen of Nordic noir does it again with the dark and intricately plotted follow up to the Legacy…

Yrsa Sigurdardottir has definitely earned the nickname “Queen of Nordic noir”. True to form, Yrsa has produced yet another dark, clever, incredibly gruesome and deliciously deceptive Nordic noir novel. The Reckoning is the second book in the Children’s House series. Although this book would work as a stand-alone reading the Legacy first just adds to the story.

When a local school opens a time capsule they discover a letter spewing anger, claiming revenge and containing a list composed of just initials of those who will meet their end in 2016.  When a gruesome discovery is made that appears to have a connection to the list an investigation is launched.  In this book we have disgraced detective Huldar biding his time hoping that the events that occurred in the previous installment will soon blow over. At the beginning of the book, he is at his all-time low and relegated to boring meaningless cases.  His former partner and shunned admirer Erla is now his boss which makes for definite tension and an interesting predicament. 

When the investigation heats up and the leads point to a past case involving a murdered child, Huldar turns Freyja at the Children’s House for help.  Once connections are made involving the release of a former pedophile and murderer there is a manhunt and a race to find and save the next on the list. 
The book builds at a breakneck speed culminating in a shocking but fantastic ending. This is not recommended for those with a squeamish stomach, there are parts that are incredibly gruesome, although not bad enough for me to put down the book. The only downside for me in this book was although there is character development,  I wish there was a little bit more, especially between Freyja and Huldar, the relationship storylines fell a little flat for me. 

  All-in-all a fantastic book in a fantastic series! Yrsa Sigurdardottir “the Queen of Nordic noir” does it again with the dark and intricately plotted follow up to the Legacy. A definite must-read for fans of Nordic Noir

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#NetGalley #BookReview of #LipstickVoodoo by @kristicharish #UrbanFantasy

Review

lipstick voodoo cover

Lipstick Voodoo

The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Two

by Kristi Charish

Release date: January 8th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Lipstick Voodoo (The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Two) by Kristi Charish from NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada/Vintage Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… fun fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist and plenty of dark humour…

I am a huge fan of Kristi Charish so was thrilled to get to review the second in her Kincaid Strange Series. I really enjoy this series, it’s fun fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist and plenty of dark humour.    

Paranormal practitioner, Kincaid Strange, is on the case again. Lipstick Voodoo picks up where The Voodoo Killings leaves off with Kincaid trying to deal with the aftermath. She is trying to help her roommate ex Grunge Rockstar Nathan Cade after his spirit was entrapped in another body which was meant for Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s spirit. A furious Gideon blames Kincaid and forces her work for him as his apprentice until the debt is paid off. She is desperately trying to hide Nathan before Gideon finds out and god knows what, but it becomes increasingly difficult when the body begins falling apart.  Things get really “Strange” when Kincaid’s ex-lover and police detective, Aaron, asks for her help on a cold case investigation that links the murder of an old bandmate of Nate’s to a new murder of another bandmate who is found supernaturally frozen solid. Add into the mix a police chief intent on destroying Kincaid (and all paranormal practitioners and you’ve got a story that keeps you flipping the pages.
I enjoyed watching the character development throughout the book and the intricately detailed magic system Charish is so brilliant at creating. I also find I’m actually enjoying Gideon’s character and can’t wait to see what Charish has planned for him throughout the series.  

All in all a fabulous fun read I can’t wait until the next one comes out, I would definitely recommend! 

 

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#GuestPost An Attitude of #Gratitude by @LHallbrooks ~ Introducing #writer @okundayeisrael1

An Attitude of Gratitude

by

Lynn Hallbrooks

Maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” is not easy for me at times. I am inspired by those that appear to radiate genuine positivity and gratefulness. Israel O. Okundaye is one of those people. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with him on The Heartbeat of African Rhythm. Of all the people he knew through social media, he allowed me to compile and publish his words of wisdom. As you read this nonfiction book you can feel the undercurrent of gratitude. As a native Nigerian, his love of country also shines through.

The Heartbeat of African Rhythm - High Resolution

To me, The Heartbeat of African Rhythm is a different type of quotations’ book. It isn’t a celebrity’s, scientist’s or philosopher’s take on life. It is a humble individual expressing his thoughts and feelings about the world around him. We are all citizens of Earth. See how much alike we all are underneath.

To experience his words and insights, you can visit Books2Read – https://www.books2read.com/Hearbeat-African-Rhythm – and see if your favorite vendor is there. If you are outside the US but prefer US Amazon then here’s the direct link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CNKF8F7

Israel O. Okundaye

About Israel O. Okundaye:

Israel Okundaye is the writer with a golden pen. His writing includes poetry, quotes, novel, and motivational literature.

He has obtained an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and B.Sc. in Banking and Finance, University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.

You can follow Israel O. Okundaye in the following locations:

Blog: http://www.deepthinkwriters.blogspot.com.ng

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/iokundaye/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/okundayeisrael1

Facebook: https://facebook/osarenagharu.okundaye

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/israel-okundaye-84121240/

About Lynn Hallbrooks:

Lynn Hallbrooks posing

Lynn Hallbrooks enjoyed writing short stories and poems in high school. After graduation, she joined the US Air Force where she learned a career that took her through the next 30 years of her life. Now she has self-published fiction and nonfiction works. She founded Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC, loves to read, and in her spare time, she finds ways to help others. One way she does that is by sharing tips and tricks with authors and readers.

You can follow Lynn Hallbrooks in the following locations:

Websites:

Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

Author Reader Cheerleader: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/

Blogs:

Call Sign Wrecking Crew on the Run: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/blog

Author Reader Cheerleader: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/arcblog

Twitter:

CSWCLynn: https://twitter.com/CSWCLynn

ARCLynn: https://twitter.com/LHallbrooks

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LynnHallbrooks

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-hallbrooks-39207934/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cswclynn/

Israel and I wish to thank Belinda for taking the time to share our words.

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US. To everyone, we wish you all the best.

Lynn Hallbrooks

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#NetGalley #BookReview Body Mindful Yoga by Robert Butera & Jennifer Kreatsoulas #Books #Health #Yoga #BodyImage

Review

Body Mindful Yoga

Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body

by Robert Butera & Jennifer Kreatsoulas

Body Mindful Yoga Cover

 

Release date: November 8th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Body Mindful Yoga
Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body
by Robert Butera & Jennifer Kreatsoulas from NetGalley and Llewellyn Worldwide in order to read and give an honest review.

Body Mindful Yoga by Robert Butera and Jennifer Kreatsoulas isn’t a book of yoga poses, although there is a section that walks you through some, this is so much more. This is a book that promotes deep thought and self-introspection to help you work through what holds you back and learn that what we say to ourselves matters more than what anyone else says.  Body Mindful Yoga helps you uncover the power of words in general, everything can add to our internal dialogue from what we read, hear and even marketing slogans, changing what we tell ourselves about our own bodies.  

With the use of clever and well-designed exercises in each section, Body Mindful Yoga promotes journaling to uncover your deepest negative thoughts and helps us work through changing our harmful often overwhelmingly negative internal dialogue. The authors outline Butera’s method which involves four processes; Listen, Learn, Love, and Live. Each section offers hands-on exercises and practices designed to make the most of each lesson.  Perfect for those who are both experienced or novice develop a meaningful yoga practice which goes deeper and is a much more holistic approach than just going through asanas. 

When I was twelve, I started my first diet as I struggled to get my 5’9” frame “model thin” …never happened. I spent years living off of diet tab and OTC pills, starving myself, over-exercising and going as far as having an eating disorder for years until I realized how unhealthy I was becoming.  Nearing my 50’s now, I definitely have a much better outlook about myself but from time to time if I am honest with myself, I still find myself that twelve-year-old longing to live up to an ideal. While reading this book, I began to see that I still hold on to a bit of that negative body image. This book helped me re-examine some of those internal dialogues I thought were long buried and helped me constructively work on changing them.  After years of health issues which included weight gain, I began taking dieting and exercise seriously again this year but one thing I discovered was for the most part, that I no longer want to be model thin I just want to feel healthy. After reading Body Mindful Yoga I’ve begun putting into practice some of the suggestions given by the authors and although a work in progress I do feel encouraged.  

I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this book if you are looking to make positive changes in your life and develop a better self-image through an all-encompassing yoga practice.

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Night Crossing by Robert Masello #Mystery #Fantasy, #HistoricalFiction #Gothic

Review

Night Crossing

The Night Crossing

by Robert Masello

Release date: September 18, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of  The Night Crossing
by Robert Masello from NetGalley and 47North in order to read and give an honest review.

The Night Crossing is a well written and intriguing gothic novel that blends historical fact, paranormal twists and a mystery, to create a tale that will keep you flipping pages. There are three main plot lines running through this story which all blend together into a fantastical tale that takes a very unexpected tangent about two-thirds the way through the book.  

Following in her father’s footsteps, Egyptophile and archaeologist Mina sets out on an expedition to the Carpathian Mountains to visit and document a mysterious phenomenon of a Sphinx which when the sun sets appears to come to life. Mina and her guides climb a mountain to get a perfect vantage point to capture a photograph of the Sphinx. After getting the shot they start on the journey down the mountain when an unexpected storm forces them to seek shelter in a cave. Too dark to continue they decide to set up camp in the safety of the cave. Mina awakens to find two of the guides have abandoned them during the night. She retraces their footprints which leads her to the back of the cave where a skeleton whose hands have been damaged after an artefact of some sort had been forcibly removed.  Mina finally tracks down the artefact, a mysterious gold box, to a gypsy camp but when she arrives they are in the throes of the funeral and can’t give Mina back the box quickly enough.  

Aspiring writer, Bram Stoker working as the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in 19th century London has his life turned upside down when he stops to rescue a young waif, Lucinda, who has jumped off a bridge on the Thames River in an attempt to take her life. Being a kind gentleman, he continues to care about this young woman, her body ravaged by chemicals from working making matches in a mission house where she and her son resided. Lucinda’s suicide attempt was a result of being distraught over the death of her young son Davey and the guilt she feels not knowing what happened to his body. Stoker becomes a friend and a father-like figure to her and offers her kind words and support. When Lucinda returns to work at a mission house she is intent to find out what happened to the body of her son, but nothing can prepare her for what she finds.  When Mina, Bram and Lucinda cross paths, a family-like bond is formed and together they fight an evil that could be the death of them.  

In Night Crossing, Robert Masello creates an interesting well-rounded cast of characters with a few familiar names such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”. I was impressed by the intelligence, strength and resiliency displayed by his female characters as well as genuinely evil villains who the reader can’t help but despise. The author also tackles some of the social issues prevalent at the time such as racism and sexism which he addresses accurately and with class. 

As a writer, I also enjoyed the way Mr Masello gives us insight into the fictional inspiration behind Stoker’s Dracula. Although I found the tangent as well as the time jump of 19 years a bit frustrating at first, I eventually grew to appreciate the author’s unique way of tying two very different storylines together making it fairly cohesive once it unravels.  

All in all an interesting read that I would recommend to those looking for a gothic thriller with threads of the paranormal.
 

 

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#Review The Phantom Tree by @NicolaCornick ‏ #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel #Mystery #Romance

Review

The Phantom Tree Cover

The Phantom Tree

by Nicola Cornick

Release date: August 21st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Phantom Tree
by Nicola Cornick
 from NetGalley and Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) in order to read and give an honest review.

“A fantastically plotted, intriguing, mysterious and well told time travel novel with evolving, strong, yet relatable characters…. “

This is my first time reading Nicola Cornick’s work and I have to say I have become a fan. Being a student of history and archaeology, I was drawn in by The Phantom Tree. A fantastically plotted, intriguing, mysterious and well told time travel novel with evolving, strong, yet relatable characters, it keeps you turning pages until the end.

Set in present-day London, bouncing back to mid 16th Century Wiltshire England, the author introduces us two girls Alison Banestre and Mary Seymour, both cousins, forced to live with relatives at Wolf Hall for different reasons. The two girls, forced to share a room, tolerate each other. The two girls could not be more different in personalities, an older Alison is wiser, bolder, rebellious and exudes a cold indifferent attitude.  Mary is sensitive, introverted, naïve and prone to visions and hearing voices. Although cold and indifferent towards her, Mary decides to cover for Alison when she slips out for a romantic interlude with her lover.  Alison’s’ interludes with her rich and well established distant cousin Edward, result in Alison becoming pregnant. After giving birth, Alison has her son Arthur taken away and is discarded by her lover, forcing her to return to Wolf Hall. Upon her return Mary notices Alison has changed, the girls still not quite friends seem to bond over their loneliness and despair. Alison discovers a time portal at an Inn in Wiltshire and hatches a plan to go into the future to establish herself then return for her son. Upon returning to her time Alison tries unsuccessfully to find where and with whom her son has been placed but to no avail.

Not long after in one of Mary’s visions, she foresees the death of one of Wolf Hall’s servants and when it occurs she is painted as a witch. In order to protect the girls, Alison arranges for her and Mary to be shipped to live with another cousin at Middlecote House but en route Alison arranges to secretly escape and go to the future. Right before leaving Mary in the carriage she makes Mary promise to find a way to let her know what happened to her son.  When Alison attempts to return she finds the time slip is gone and she is stuck in the future.

While Mary endures her life at Middlecote with her cousins, one being an opportunistic and vile male cousin bent on finding fame and fortune by whatever means possible, Alison forges her way in modern day London. Alison goes into care, graduates college has an unsuccessful relationship yet manages to carve out a life for herself, independent with a good job and home.  Alison is determined one day to get back to Wiltshire to retrieve her son but has no information to go on.  While passing a Wiltshire gallery Allison is shocked to notice a portrait of Mary Seymour mislabeled as Anne Boleyn on display in the front window. While Alison is shocked she stares at the portrait realizing it is rife with clues as to what happened to Arthur. Her ex, Adam a successful archaeologist and TV Historian is connected to the show and when Alison corrects him of his error he reluctantly helps her as she begins to unravel the clues that will tell her what happened to Arthur and Mary.

A bittersweet emotional roller-coaster, I would highly recommend The Phantom Tree to anyone looking for a fantastic time travel novel that balances mystery, romance and drama. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series might be interested in giving this a try.