The Winter Garden. Nicola Cornick

The winter garden

1605: Anne Catesby fears for her family. Her son, the darkly charismatic Robert, is secretly plotting to kill the king, placing his wife and child in grave danger. Anne must make a terrible choice: betray her only child or risk her family’s security…and her very life.

Present Day: When her dreams of becoming a musician are shattered, Lucy takes refuge in her family’s ancestral home in Oxfordshire. Everyone knows it was originally home to the notorious gunpowder plotter Robert Catesby. As Lucy spends more time in the beautiful winter garden that Robert made, she starts to have strange visions of a woman in Tudor dress, terrified and facing a heartbreaking dilemma.

As Lucy’s and Anne’s stories converge, a shared secret that has echoed through the centuries separating them will change Lucy’s life forever…

The Winter Garden is a slightly unusual dual timeline. We are taken back to Tudor times and the gun powder plot, mainly presented to us through the eyes of Anne Gatesby. We see a beautiful relationship that ends so soon. What stood out to me was that people died so quickly from various diseases, and to make it through childhood is a mission.

In contemporary time, we meet Lucy, who has been ill and can no longer carry on with the musical career she so dearly loved. She stays at her Aunt’s place to convalesce, and somehow her sadness connects with a woman from Tudor times. She seems to be wanting something, and from time to time Lucy can see her. Lucy combines with Finn who is restoring the Tudor garden, to solve the mystery that has a past and a present.

There is danger, someone has already lost their life and someone else will too in the course of the story. And through it all Lucy finds a new passion and a relationship that is very likely to last.

I enjoyed this story, the Tudor section was especially interesting and I really felt for Anne Catesby. I liked the slightly paranormal aspect and the link between past and present.