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The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House—a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, Ashdown and its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of romance, deceit and destiny…
In the winter of 1662, Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, is on her deathbed. She entrusts an ancient pearl, rumored to have magic power, to her faithful cavalier William Craven for safekeeping. In his grief, William orders the construction of Ashdown Estate in her memory and places the pearl at its center.
One hundred and fifty years later, notorious courtesan Lavinia Flyte hears the maids at Ashdown House whisper of a hidden treasure, and bears witness as her protector Lord Evershot—desperate to find it—burns the building to the ground.
Now, a battered mirror and the diary of a Regency courtesan are the only clues Holly Ansell has to finding her brother, who has gone missing researching the mystery of Elizabeth Stuart and her alleged affair with Lord Craven. As she retraces his footsteps, Holly’s quest will soon reveal the truth about Lavinia and compel her to confront the stunning revelation about the legacy of the Winter Queen.
I really enjoyed reading House of Shadows. The story does bounce around a bit as you go back and forth between time periods, but it’s such a compelling story that you just keep reading. I really enjoyed the characters in this book as they were well defined and had depth that really made you feel for them as they made their way though the story.
I find I related well to Holly, not just because we share a name, but because of her steadfast believe in her brother and her willingness, eventually to start down the same path he took to find out more about the items that seemed to cause so many problems.
If you love historical books this is a great read for you. I had not known much about the Winter Queen, but after finishing this book I started doing research and I have to say she was an amazing women.