The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

Posted August 15, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 4 Comments

The Phantom Tree

The Phantom Tree

by Nicola Cornick

Publisher: Grayson House on August 21, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Target Age Group: Adult
Rating: ★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

“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 subject 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. And Alison knows this because she, too, was in Wolf Hall...with 1557.

The painting of Mary is more than just a beautiful object for Alison—it holds the key to her past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance and how Alison can get back to her own time. But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbors secrets in its shadows...

A spellbinding tale for fans of Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory and Barbara Erskine by the bestselling author of House of Shadows.


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Graydon House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Phantom Tree is a story of two girls separated by time, their relationships, and the search that holds them together across centuries.  It’s a romance, it’s a time travel story, and it’s historical fiction.  I was not quite what I expected.

I went into The Phantom Tree expecting something more akin to Philippa Gregory’s writing – a court of Tudor intrigue, incredible characters and a respectable amount of villainy.  While there is nothing particularly wrong with The Phantom Tree, it is first and foremost a romance.

As far as romances go, it was interesting enough.  Predictable, of course.  We have Alison’s love story in the present that announces itself early on, where Mary’s story starts when she is a child and we aren’t introduced into to her love until the last part of the book.  That romance is fast and fierce.  I think people who enjoy romance stories, and historical romance especially, will enjoy The Phantom Tree.  We have rediscovered love, fated love, horrible twisted love… good decisions and bad decisions and everything driven by passions.

I hate some issues with the continuity of Alison’s character – I had a difficult time putting together the Alison of the 1500s with the Alison of the 2000s.  They felt like entirely different characters to me.  Additionally, the story line about searching for Alison’s son seemed to lose steam somewhere in the middle.  Even though the characters follow through on the storyline, their heart really isn’t in it.  That isn’t to say there isn’t a story – it really is all about the romance – but the advertised storyline is not the one we follow.

The Phantom Tree will appeal to romance lovers, people who love a light historical mystery. The time travel aspect is light and weak, so don’t jump in looking for any heavy science-fiction or history.  It was quite good for what it was, though.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★ 1/2
Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★ 1/2
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★

4 Star Rating


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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4 responses to “The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

  1. Great review! 😉
    I have a weekly post where I share what books are released on the current week and I also share other people’s reviews of said books. Would you like to be featured in next week’s post? ☺️ If you say yes, I’ll add a link to this post in mine.

    • Amber

      Hi Dora!

      Aww, that’s really sweet! Of course you’re welcome to include this review! I would like to let you know a couple things about this one, just in case it doesn’t fit your criteria. First of all, of course, publication date for this edition is next Tuesday. Secondly this is actually a re-release… It was released in 2016 in the UK and I *believe* this is just the US release? It may just be for a new edition, I’m not entirely sure (8/21/2018 was the date NetGalley gave me).

      If it still fits, you’re definitely welcome to link to it. If not, I have a review coming up for “Ignite the Stars” at the end of the month that *is* a first release. Either way, you’re welcome to link to any of my posts, ever. 🙂

      It’s so lovely of you to ask, and thanks for the interest!

  2. It’s good for the criteria, my aim is to help people discover new books, I don’t want to overcontroll what I let be on the list. If it has any form that’s published this week, it’s eligible. I’ll share it, and if you let me know, I’ll share every other review later that you write about new releases 😉