28 April 2017

Book review: The Shadow Queen, by Anne O'Brien

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Queen’s Choice

The untold story of Joan of Kent, the mastermind behind the reign of child-King Richard II. A tale of treachery, power-hungry families and legal subterfuges. ‘What would enhance the pattern of my life further? One word slid into my mind. A seductive word. A dangerous word, perhaps, for a woman. Power.’ 

I remember being overawed by the tomb of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral as a child. Since then, I’ve never taken the trouble to learn much about Sir Edward of Woodstock – until I read The Shadow Queen, the latest book from Anne O'Brien.  Here he steals the show as ‘Ned’, in my view one of Anne O’Brien’s best written characters.

The heroine of the story, Joan of Kent, is one of those strong female role models who never let anything defeat them, even the King of England. As with Sir Edward, I admit to knowing little of the detail of her life, so Anne’s meticulous research was a welcome revelation.

With an epic scale and plenty of surprises, this is a book I’m happy to recommend for anyone interested in medieval historical fiction.

(In her author's note Anne points out that the name 'Black Prince' was a later invention and there are no records of Edward of Woodstock being referred to as that during his lifetime)

Tony Riches
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About the Author

Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history. She now lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire, on the borders between England and Wales, where she writes historical novels. The perfect place in which to bring medieval women back to life. Find out more at Anne's website  http://www.anneobrien.co.uk/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @anne_obrien.

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