Anne O’Brien Best Reads
I’m going to say it, Anne O’Brien is probably one of my favourite authors. There. Although I know she has a number of books that are more romantical than historical, so I’m sticking to a few of my favourite books she has written, in fact a top 3.
Top 3 Anne O’Brien books:
The Forbidden Queen
Let’s start with my favourite book. Katherine de Valois was the youngest daughter of King Charles VI of France. At 14, she was beautiful and longed for a marriage to save her from her father’s mad upbringing. So imagine her luck when the brave and young King Henry V of England asked for her hand in marriage. However, this was short lived, as although Katherine wanted a life of love and happiness, her husband the King was more interested in fighting over France. Shortly after giving birth to her son, the future heir to the throne also called Henry, King Henry dies on the battlefield. Still so young and marriageable, with her baby son – now the King – only a few months old she is forced into isolation by the men trying to take power. Alone and pushed out of the way, the book focuses on Katherine’s life as a widow and her fear of starting a new chapter of her life. It felt so natural for her to be describing her attractions to various men that I quite enjoyed the fluffy parts! It’s during this time that she starts a secret relationship with a servant called Owen Tudor!! Scandal!! This relationship, and potential marriage (it was never really documented but assumed they were married), was the start of the Tudor line! Eventually, their grandson would become King Henry VII of England. So basically, the royal family can trace back their family tree to a servant who had a liaison with a Queen. Disney eat your heart out.
The King’s Concubine
King Queen Phillipa of Hainault was the young wife of King Edward III. Their union was a love match (rare at this time!) when Edward had accompanied his mother to Hainaut and met Phillipa in person he is immediately betrothed to her. Their marriage was strong and they ruled England with kindness and fairness. However, in her later years, when the King was in his fifties, Phillipa begins to feel unable to perform her “wifely duties” and so she comes up with a plan to choose her husband a mistress in order to keep control of the inevitable situation!!! Strange times. The Queen chooses a young orphan from a convent by the name of Alice Perrers to fit the role and as she is employed into the Queen’s entourage, Alice meets the King. As a young virgin, Alice becomes the King’s official concubine. Now, normally in history Alice gets referred to as selfish, or as taking advantage of an old king and most of the time she’s described as ugly. Poor Alice!! So, I liked the fact Anne O’Brien chose to write about her and maybe the reason she was so hated was because she came from nothing to be one of the most richest ladies in England. In this book Alice comes across as actually loving Edward, protecting him and risking a lot to be with him when he was dying. I thought it was a really interesting angle 🙂
The Scandalous Duchess
Lastly, the Scandalous Duchess. Now, there is a very famous book called “Katherine” by Anya Seton that follows the same lady, a lady called Lady Katherine Swynford, which I have to admit… I preferred but this is a great read for those who have not read it. This is a gorgeous tale about a beautiful maid who captured the heart of a prince, John of Gaunt! I mean, this is fairy tale stuff. It’s crazy for me to imagine how their love story actually founded most of the British royal family and what I love about this story is John and Katherine’s love continues through war, the black death and the clash of the cousins.