The Last Daughter of York

Last Daughter of York coverNicola here. Yesterday was NA release day for my latest dual-time historical mystery The Last Daughter of York which was published in the UK a few months ago under the title of The Last Daughter. Central to the story is the 15th century mystery of the Princes in the Tower – what happened to these young sons of King Edward IV, was their uncle Richard responsible for their disappearance and possible death, and why is this mystery still so powerful today, 500 years later. I’m a real sucker for a historical mystery, real or imaginary, and I love the idea of examining the historical story in the present and coming up with a solution to an age-old mystery.

There is a theme of disappearance in both sections of the book. In the modern-day story, Serena Warren returns to Minster Lovell, the place of her childhood holidays, to try and find out what happened to her sister Caitlin who vanished ten years before. As Serena starts to dig into the past and her memories, she uncovers a genealogical link to the Plantagenets and the mystery of the princes.

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An Interview with Nicola Cornick!

Christina here and today I’m delighted to be interviewing Wench Nicola Cornick about her new book The Last Daughter, which is published in paperback, ebook and audio here in the UK in three days’ time, on 8th July. In the US, it will release in paperback on 16th November as The Last Daughter of York, and both have amazing covers, although I will admit to favouring the UK one as it has such wonderful jewel colours.

Nicola, it’s lovely that it’s my turn to welcome you as a guest to chat about this story, which is one of my absolute favourite books this year. I was lucky enough to read an ARC and I loved it – the mixture of history, mystery and timeslip is just superb and I simply couldn’t put it down!

The Princes in the Tower by Millais

The Princes in the Tower by Millais

Please can you tell us briefly what The Last Daughter is about?

The Last Daughter is a dual time novel set in the present and the Wars of the Roses. The historical strand looks at the mystery of the disappearance of the princes in the tower in 1483 through the eyes of Anne Lovell, wife of Richard III’s best friend Francis. This is linked to the modern day story where Serena Warren is trying to discover what happened to her twin sister Caitlin, who disappeared at Minster Lovell ten years before.

I loved that The Last Daughter is based on the many stories about the Princes in the Tower, the two young sons of King Edward IV, who disappeared after their uncle Richard of Gloucester took the throne for himself and became King Richard III. There have always been a lot of rumours and speculation about their fate, but the truth is that no one knows what actually happened. When did you first become aware of this story and what fascinated you about it?

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Roses Around The Door

RosesNicola here. Today I’m looking at roses, literally out of my study window and also as a historical symbol. It’s that time of the year in the UK when the rose is in full bloom. It’s a sign of summer and the sight of roses growing around a cottage door (or window) is one of the quintessential images of an English country village.

The rose is also a symbol of a lot of other things: A red rose is for romance, of course, whilst 300px-Plucking_the_Red_and_White_Roses _by_Henry_Payneinnocence or purity is symbolized by the white rose, friendship with yellow roses and passion with orange.  I’m currently writing a book set in the 15th century during the period known now as “The Wars of the Roses” although this term wasn’t coined until the 19th century. The red and white roses were of course said to be the rival emblems of the aristocratic houses of York and Lancaster. In Shakespeare's play Henry VI rival nobles plucked them from bushes in the Temple Gardens, as depicted in this painting by Henry Payne. The different roses are the perfect embodiment of the antagonism each side had for the other, with the thorns and the red for the blood spilled in the conflict.

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What We’re Reading in March

 … and what a medley it is.

Joanna here, with some lovely book suggestions from all of us.Wench bujold

I’m rereading one of Lois MlcMaster Bujold’s books. The Curse of Chalion. I picked it up at the library because the librarian had it out on the Recommended Shelf and I was reminded of it. 

When we reread books we sometimes come at them a little differently or, at least, I do. This time, when I approached Bujold’s broken, exhausted, emotionally and psychically destroyed protagonist I was better able to see the honorable man beneath. It’s a new way for me to look at heroism and I’m hoping to learn from it.

This is not a Romance, but it’s a satisfying portrayal of a complex protagonist and — yes — a bit of a love story.


Andrea writes:

I’m a big fan of Charles Finch’s historical mysteries—I find his Charles Lenox series, set in early Victorian England, an absolute delight. So it’s always a treat when a new one comes out.

Now, Finch has done something really interesting with the series. In the first book, A Beautiful Blue Death, which came out 12 years ago, we meet Lenox as an established amateur detective. He’s a cultured, erudite, clever younger son, so his slightly “black sheep” profession is tolerated by family and friends (it helps that he’s such a lovely, sensitive fellow) And throughout the next nine books, we see him develop, take on new challenges, dabble in politics, get married, have a child . . . all while unraveling some very intriguing mysteries.

Wench vanishing manThen lo and behold, like the clever mystery writer he is, Finch suddenly surprised his readers with a unexpected plot twist. In his previous book, The Woman in the Water, the 11th in the series, he started writing a “prequel to the series—we meed Charles as a green cub, just down from Oxford, trying to decide what he wants to do in life. He loves solving conundrums, but everyone thinks he’s a fool to consider it as a possible career. Nonetheless, he keeps reading the papers about crime, and finds he has an idea he thinks may help solve one. The police, of course, dismiss him as fop and

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