Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Forbidden Queen by Anne O'Brien - Book Review

Title: The Forbidden Queen  
Author: Anne O'Brien  
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA  
Publication Date: March 2013  
Pages: 464   
Format: Paperback  
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

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1415. The Battle of Agincourt is over, and the young princess Katherine de Valois is the prize to be offered to Henry V of England. The innocent Katherine is smitten with Henry, but soon understands that her sole purpose is to produce an heir to unite England and France. When Henry leaves her a widow at the age of 21, Katherine is forced to resign herself to a quiet life as the Dowager Queen; her duty is to raise her son, the young King of England, and little more.

But Katherine is still young and passionate. Many desire her, and her hand in marriage is worth a kingdom. Setting aside those driven by ambition, Katherine falls in love with her servant Owen Tudor, and glimpses the happiness that love can bring. But their enemies are circling, all battling for power and determined to prevent their marriage. Katherine will have to fight to control her own destiny…
(Goodreads Synopsis)

The Forbidden Queen was a gripping read. My only information on Katherine prior to reading this book was from Shakespeare, so it was fascinating to see more into her history. For example, I hadn't realised she'd remarried after Henry's death, or that the Tudor line had sprung from her.

The prose was easy going and the plot moved along at a good pace. Katherine was a fairly sympathetic character and I particularly enjoyed the treatment of her growing relationship with Owen Tudor. The historic detail was carefully woven in without taking over the story and all in all it was a delightful read.

I can recommend this book both to existing historical fans but also to those looking to try the genre for the first time.

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