Friday, 23 October 2015

The King's Sister by Anne O'Brien

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore. (

What we thought: Another first time read of a new author to me. I saw favourable reviews of Anne O’Brien’s historical fiction novels online, and as a fan of Philippa Gregory decided to give her latest book a try – and I’m very glad I did!

The main character is Elizabeth of Lancaster, a young, strong-willed woman of Plantagenet blood. Set in 1382, at a time when England was teetering between monarchs, betraying the family rules was not sensible. But when Elizabeth falls in love, nothing will get in her way. Following her father’s strong allegiances, she finds herself among the Royal Court, in a sham marriage and yearning for a better life with the man of her dreams, John Holland.

But when the brother of one king marries the sister of his biggest rival – there can only be one outcome. Trouble.

The novel cleverly leads us through Elizabeth’s complicated life, showing how her loyalties were tested time and again. When a final call to take sides leads to the death of either her husband or her brother – which choice can she take?

I found the book very entertaining, and thought the period was evoked in very accurate detail and the characters expressed in great depth. Not always likeable, but always believable. The author crafted a real rollercoaster of emotions that led us on an amazing journey of betrayal and loyalty. I’m always fascinated by novels based on real people, and that was yet another reason why I found this book so riveting.

Another name to add to the growing list of authors on my TBR pile!

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel.

Avoid if you don’t like: Medieval period, Royalty.

Ideal accompaniments: Real ale and roast venison.

Genre: Historical fiction.

Available from Amazon

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