Nicola CornickNov 21, 2022
The Winter Garden
Graydon House Books 2022
In her novels, Nicola Cornick blends a modern perspective with a historical mystery and a paranormal connection between the two. The Winter Garden (Graydon House Books, 2022) revolves around the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605, known to every British schoolchild as the origin of Guy Fawkes Day, celebrated on November 5 with fireworks, bonfires, and bobbing for apples, among other things.
In the contemporary portion of the novel, Lucy, an internationally renowned concert violinist, has suffered a health crisis that strips her of her ability to perform. Facing the death of her career, she takes the opportunity to recover at a rural English estate. There she experiences bizarre dreams in which she appears to inhabit the body of a Tudor-era woman named Catherine, even as she is increasingly pulled into a relationship with Finn, an archeologist working on the gardens of the estate.
Alongside this modern story, we follow the events leading up to the Gunpowder Plot, told by Anne Catesby, the mother of the main conspirator. At first, past and present seem far apart, but as the novel progresses, the links between them become clearer. Anne and Lucy are both strong, determined women fighting circumstances beyond their control—for very different reasons—and they hold our attention to equal degree as they variously navigate the origins of the Gunpowder Plot, the fate of the Knights Hospitaller, and the discovery of a long-hidden treasure in a Tudor garden.
Nicola Cornick, a historian raised in the north of England, has become an international and award-winning bestseller. She now writes dual-timeframe novels inspired by the history and legends of Wessex and the Vale of the White Horse. Her latest novel is The Winter Garden.
C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her next novel, Song of the Storyteller, will appear in January 2023.