Sunday, December 27, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - The King's Sister by Anne O'Brien

Pages: 560
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Date: November 2014

Book Blurb

One betrayal is all it takes to change history

1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men.

In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted.
But defiance can come at a price.

1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confidant to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice.

Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death.

Sister. Wife. Traitor.

She holds the fate of England in her hands.

My Review 

Anne O’Brien is by far one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and I am reminded of why this is after reading “The King’s Sister”. I can honestly say that I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster while reading this novel. I laughed, cried, felt angry, shocked, and sad as I completely lost myself in this book due to Anne O’Brien’s superb writing skills. Prior to reading “The King’s Sister” I knew very little about Elizabeth of Lancaster. She has always been a minor character who I “met” in passing as I read novels about King Henry IV or her famous father the Duke of Lancaster. However, after reading this book, I honestly felt as though I knew her. Ms. O’Brien really has a way of bringing her characters to life for readers. I’ve read several of her novels, and I’ve loved every one. The way that the author describes the everyday lives of her characters makes them seem so real. Obviously Elizabeth of Lancaster truly was a real person hundreds of years ago, but there was very little that was known about her. As with many important women from history, their importance was overshadowed by whatever the men at that time were doing. However, the way that the author portrays Elizabeth of Lancaster feels right, and it is easy to picture her just as described. Since I knew so little about her life, I was shocked when certain events happened, and I actually got teared up towards the end. To be able to really connect with a character, to me, is a priority when I read a novel. I want to love, and sometimes even hate, the character. I want to feel like I KNOW the character by the time I finish the novel. Nothing is more disappointing than reading a novel and being unable to understand the main character or to have any type of strong emotions for the character.

“The King’s Sister” had my interest right from the beginning, and when I closed the book at the end, I wanted it to keep going. I have nothing but positive feelings and glowing praise for this novel, and it is a solid FIVE out of FIVE stars for me!

Praise for Anne O’Brien

‘The gripping tale of Elizabeth of Lancaster, sibling of Henry IV. Packed with love, loss and intrigue’ - Sunday Express S Magazine

‘Her writing is highly evocative of the time period… O’Brien has produced an epic tale’    - Historical Novel Society

‘Anne O’Brien’s novels give a voice to the “silent” women of history’ - Yorkshire Post

‘This book is flawlessly written and well researched, and will appeal to her fans and those who like Philippa Gregory’s novels’ – Birmingham Post

‘A brilliantly researched and well-told story; you won’t be able to put this book down’ - Candis

About Anne O'Brien

Anne was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a B.A. Honours degree in History at Manchester University, a PGCE at Leeds University and a Masters degree in education at Hull University, she lived in the East Riding as a teacher of history. Always a prolific reader, she enjoyed historical fiction and was encouraged to try her hand at writing. Success in short story competitions spurred her on.

Leaving teaching – but not her love of history – she wrote her first historical romance, a Regency, which was published in 2005. To date nine historical romances and a novella, ranging from medieval, through the Civil War and Restoration and back to Regency, have been published internationally.

Anne now lives with her husband in an eighteenth century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire, a wild, beautiful place on the borders between England and Wales, renowned for its black and white timbered houses, ruined castles and priories and magnificent churches. Steeped in history, famous people and bloody deeds as well as ghosts and folk lore, it has given her inspiration for her writing. Since living there she has become hooked on medieval history.
Sometimes she escapes from writing. She enjoys her garden, a large, rambling area where she grows vegetables and soft fruit as well as keeping control over herbaceous flower borders, a wild garden, a small orchard and a formal pond. With an interest in herbs and their uses, Anne has a herb patch constructed on the pattern of a Tudor knot garden and enjoys cooking with the proceeds. Gardening is a perfect time for her to mull over what she’s been writing, as she wages war on the weeds.

Learn more about Anne and her fantastic novels on her website:

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