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