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The King's Concubine: A Novel of Alice Perrers Paperback – June 5, 2012
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Praise for the novels of Anne O'Brien
"Better than Philippa Gregory."--The Bookseller (UK)
"An enjoyable, heart-wrenching read."--Booklist
"I highly recommend this title."--The Historical Novels Review
About the Author
As a prolific reader and ex-history teacher, Anne O’Brien has been lucky to fulfil her ambition to write historical romances. Her first success was a 400 word love story about a garden for Mills & Boon–an auspicious start! Anne lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century cottage. It is a place that gives her much inspiration and many sources for her writing. Anne often makes time to visit old houses, gardens and priories to absorb atmosphere for her novels.
Top customer reviews
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Alice is pictured as a woman ahead of her time - feisty, independent, unsinkable. This book was a delight after I had tried to read an earlier novel of her life by the usually excellent Vanora Bennett, which I found abysmally uninteresting. Ms. O'Brien's book is a pleasure to read....
O'Brien's writing style is graceful and literate. No grammatical missteps or flowery flights of purple prose. The story moves along briskly and events are overall historically accurate. Alice holds her own very well under duress from royal ladies and hostile Parliaments and O'Brien does not shrink from the obvious fact of Perrers' own self-interest being front and center in the choices she makes. I appreciated that the author doesn't apologize for Alice who finds no need to apologize for herself. Overall this is very good historical fiction.
I feel as though the author did a wonderful job of introducing the court of Edward III to the reader, and that this novel would be easy for any-one to read even if they didn't have prior knowledge of the era. We are given a good portrait of Queen Philippa, who is shown as a kind woman that had a deep affection for her husband. She suffered from dropsy, and the author gives us a good idea of what this was and how one would have suffered from it (Queen Elizabeth I is said to have suffered from this ailment also). We are also introduced to Edward's son John of Gaunt, who was a very influential and important figure during his nephew, Richard II's, early reign. He is not portrayed as the nicest person in this novel, which is probably how he seemed to many. However after reading Anya Seton's 'Katherine' about Gaunt's mistress and later wife I came to know him in a much softer light through the eyes of the woman who loved him. That's why I love historical fiction; it shows us history through many different perspectives.
The only reason I gave this novel four stars instead of five was because the last few chapters really dragged and I started to be eager for it to end. This was a shame really, as I greatly enjoyed the rest of the novel.