Nicola Cornick - The Phantom Tree
A newly discovered Tudor portrait displayed in a gallery throws Alison Bannister's life into disarray. Purported to be a painting of Anne Boleyn, Alison knows that it is actually Mary Seymour, daughter of Henry VIII's last wife, Katherine Parr, and her last husband, Thomas Seymour. The reason she knows is that she grew up with Mary at Wolf Hall - Alison is a time traveller. She is stuck in the twenty first century, and can't find her way back to search for her lost child. But the painting hides clues that Mary has left, and Alison must trust in Adam, the historian who discovered the painting. To make matters more difficult, Adam and she fell in love several years earlier, but she couldn't sustain the relationship as she knew she would have to leave him if she wanted to go back to Tudor times and find her baby. Vivid scenes of Tudor England and the enigmatic character of Mary intersperse with Alison's desperate search to discover the truth about her son and also what actually happened to Mary. A riveting time-slip novel by an accomplished author.
Zhang Ling - A Single Swallow
This book was interestingly different, written by a Chinese author and translated into English. It's set mainly during World War II in China. The novel begins with the ghosts of three men meeting when the final one of them dies in his nineties.One of them, Liu Zhaohu, was a Chinese soldier. Two of them are American - the man known as Pastor Billy, a missionary; and the last to die, Ian Ferguson, who had been a soldier too with the American army in China. These three men are connected by the woman that each of them loved in a different way. They even called her by different names: Stella, Ah Yan (Swallow), and Wende (or 'wind'). Through the story of each ghost we follow Ah Yan's life from childhood to maturity, and the difficulties of being a woman at that time in Chinese history. The novel portrays a fascinating picture of a land and culture very different from our western existence. Colourful and compelling.
Rosemary Goodacre - Until we meet again
This is a tenderly written historical novel with a captivating love story. In the months before the start of World War I, Amy, the daughter of a schoolmaster, falls in love with Edmond, younger son of a local landowner. Despite opposition from his family, they become engaged. But as Edmond leaves university and signs up for the army, their plans do not run smoothly. Not to mention Amy blotting her copybook in the eyes of his family before they have even been married. Despite all, Amy and Edmond's love is a strong anchor for them as they are torn apart, each wanting to serve their country and bring to an end the horror of war. Sorrow is laced with joy in this well-crafted novel that holds the interest from start to finish, and gives the reader a flavour of what it was like to live in those times. I look forward to reading the next instalment of this trilogy.