The Last Daughter of York – Nicola Cornick

Title: The Last Daughter of York
Author
: Nicola Cornick
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published
: November 16th, 2021 (Graydon House)
Goodreads


Synopsis: In the winter of 1483, Francis Lovell is Richard III’s Lord Chamberlain and confidant, but the threat of Henry Tudor’s rebels has the king entrusting to Francis and his wife, Anne, his most crucial mission: protecting the young Richard of York, his brother’s surviving son and a threat to Henry’s claims to the throne.

Two years later, Richard III is dead, and Anne hides the young prince of York while Francis is hunted by agents of the new king, Henry VII. Running out of options to keep her husband and the boy safe, Anne uses the power of an ancient family relic to send them away, knowing that in doing so she will never see Francis again.

In the present day, Serena Warren has been haunted by her past ever since her twin sister, Caitlin, disappeared. But when Caitlin’s bones are discovered interred in a church vault that hasn’t been opened since the eighteenth century, the police are baffled. Piecing together local folklore that speaks of a magical relic with her own hazy memories of the day Caitlin vanished, Serena begins to uncover an impossible secret that her grandfather has kept hidden, one that connects her to Anne, Francis and the young Duke of York.

Review:

The year is 1483 and Richard III’s armies are at war with Henry Tudor’s rebels. Francis Lovell, Richard III’s trusted friend and confidant is entrusted with the safekeeping of his nephew, the young Prince Richard of York, and he takes him to his family home to be placed in the care of his wife Anne. Two years later, the war is lost and Anne knows she cannot hide either Richard or Francis from Tudor forces much longer, and uses a family relic to send both of them to safety. In present day, Serena Warren’s twin sister Caitlin, mysteriously disappeared many years ago while on a visit to their family home as teenagers and Serena has always been haunted by it and her memories of that day are hazy. When Caitlin’s bones are discovered in a grave from the eighteenth century, and an undisturbed one at that, Serena returns to the house, hoping that she might remember something. As she begins to explore, she comes across local folklore that describes a magical artifact that may be linked to the whole thing and her search for answers leads her to a centuries old secret connecting her to the lost Plantagenet Prince.

This is one of my favorite historical fiction eras to read about and a book that combines this with my favorite trope of time travel is definitely one I knew I had to pick up! I loved the mystery in the present timeline and how it ended up tying into one of the mysteries from the Wars of the Roses. The plot unfolded at a perfect pace and I was engrossed in the story within the first few chapters. The author has done a good job at maintaining the tension until the end of the story, atleast with the present timeline and I also liked how the magical artifact was linked to the story and it adds a layer of suspense to the legend of Minster Lovell Hall.

As intriguing as I found the premise, I have to mention that if I was not familiar with the background of the Wars of the Roses, the past timeline would have been ridiculously confusing for me with the number of characters that were introduced and the time skips. It’s a complicated period in history and Anne, the narrator, is far from court politics and the major battles, so there was not much of an explanation provided. It looks like the author has a couple of other books written in a similar style and in the same time period, so I’m hoping to check those out soon, especially as it seems that the characters overlap a little though this was a standalone and didn’t require the reader to be familiar with previous books at all.

However, there were two things that I found disappointing about this book. Firstly, the two timelines were not equally balanced, something that is really important for this type of narrative to work. Whenever this has happened before, it is usually the present timeline that feels lacking in comparison to the other, but oddly enough, it was the past timeline that didn’t hold my interest in this case and I think a large part of that was due to the choice of narrator. Anne is almost never in the thick of things and all her knowledge of the crucial events going on around her is always through someone else which takes away a large measure of the excitement since there is little action. Secondly, the mystery was not hard to figure out, not least because several crucial facts are already in the synopsis (which pretty much turned out to be the entirety of the past timeline too), but also due to too many major hints being given away early in the story. The only true mystery that remained was what happened to Caitlin and after all the reveals, I found the resolution for this to be rather lacklustre.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I really liked the concept of not only dual timelines, but a time travel element tying them together. I would definitely recommend this book, though it might be useful to have a basic background of the era beforehand.


Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!


8 thoughts on “The Last Daughter of York – Nicola Cornick

  1. Jodie | That Happy Reader August 14, 2022 / 3:36 pm

    I do enjoy a time travel book (highly recommend The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain)! I’m glad that you enjoyed it overall. Have a wonderful week ahead Raji!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fransic verso August 15, 2022 / 3:36 am

    I’m a big fan of historical books and stories. This would be a good read for me. Thank you for sharing this book review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jkennedy August 15, 2022 / 1:01 pm

    I’ve never heard of this one, but it sounds really good. I love royal history! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jaya Avendel August 15, 2022 / 4:55 pm

    Oo, love the time backdrop of this book and the sounds of the story! The characters and the time travel element sound super interesting. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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