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The King's Concubine [Paperback]

Anne O'Brien
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 May 2012
Mistress to the King. Confidante of the Queen. Whore to the court. Her fate is double edged; loved by the majesties, ostracised by her peers. Alice must balance her future with care as her star begins to rise - the despised Concubine is not untouchable. Politics and pillow talk are dangerous bedfellows. The fading great King wants her in his bed.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; New edition edition (4 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848450990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848450998
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne O'Brien was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a B.A. Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Masters in Education at Hull, she lived in the East Riding 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. It is 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. It is steeped in history, famous people and bloody deeds as well as ghosts and folk lore, all providing inspiration.

She wrote her first historical romance, a Regency, for Harlequin Mills and Boon in 2005, followed by ten historical novels and a novella, ranging from medieval, through the English Civil War and Restoration and back to Regency. She has been published in the UK, North America and Australia as well as in translation throughout Europe and in Japan.

She is now writing novels based on the lives of historical characters. Virgin Widow is the story of Anne Neville, wife of Richard III. It was long-listed by the RNA for the Romantic Novel of the Year award. Devil's Consort tells of the early adventures of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her new novel, The King's Concubine (May 2012) about Alice Perrers and King Edward III can be seen to draw a parallel with modern royalty with it's tale of one marriage and three people; the proud king; loving wife and infamous mistress.

Product Description


"'Better than Philippa Gregory' - The Bookseller 'Anne O'Brien has joined the exclusive club of excellent historical novelists.' - Sunday Express"

About the Author

Anne O'Brien taught History in Yorkshire before deciding to fulfill an ambition to write historical fiction. She now lives in an eighteenth century timbered cottage with her husband in the Welsh Marches. Steeped in history, as well as ghosts and folklore, the Marches provide inspiration for her interest in medieval England. Anne has a strong presence on Twitter

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative... 4 May 2012
By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The King's Concubine is set during reign of Edward III, and describes his relationship with his wife, Philippa of Hainault, and his mistress, Alice Perrers. Little is truly known about the life of Alice Perrers, and yet Anne O'Brien has woven a skilful and believable story about how, in the mid 1360's, young Alice became one of the Queen's waiting women. The way in which Alice colluded with Queen Philippa in order to begin a sexual relationship with the King, is described in a compassionate and romantic manner. The story quickly evolves into a sympathetic and warm account of an aging king and his love affair, not just with his astute young mistress, but also with his wife, and courtiers. The medieval court is beautifully described and is perfectly placed within the context of the story.
There is much debate about Alice Perrers, and the influence she had on the aging King, she is often depicted as an avaricious, scheming harpy, or as a femme fatale, but in The King's Concubine, Anne O'Brien has given a lighter and possibly more sympathetic view of this charismatic medieval mistress.
I enjoyed this version of Alice's early life, and would definitely recommend this book to my friends who enjoy historical fiction by Philippa Gregory, Vanora Bennett and Emma Campion
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality Romantic Fiction 26 April 2012
By artemisrhi VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you don't mind if a good story plays around with the facts and you like romantic historical fiction then you will not be disappointed! This is top class stuff, full of contemporary detail of the life, clothes, palaces etc of the English Court. I read this in two evenings! The added bonus of this story is that she makes the King, the Queen and the Concubine all very believable and likable in their menage a trois - tricky thing to pull off I think. I think I might go far as to say that I prefer Anne O Brien to Phillippa Gregory!!!!! Don't tell anyone
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book started out as a 'oh, go on then' book - there wasn't too much of a selection left on amazon vine. I intended to skim-read it, as this kind of novel isn't my favourite genre, but I found myself utterly drawn into it from the very beginning, from young, innocent Alice Perrer's convent days. So much so, that I had to read up on her, and on Philippa of Hainault, as both were portrayed as strong women at a time that men had all the power.

The author seems to have very skilfully blended fact with fiction, filling in blanks where history seems to be lacking, and in a very clever, empathetic way, where both women are concerned. I wondered if she especially wanted to make both women powerful in a 'woman behind the man' way.

I found myself intrigued by the author's plot in that it was PoH who made AP the king's mistress, and how willing AP was to serve both king and queen. AP herself came across as a strange blend of strength, innocence, cunning, self-preservation, with a thirst for knowledge and a power of her own - and that was from the age of 16 onwards, which kind of didn't seemed realistic. I do wonder how accurate this could be, given woman's subservience to man at that time, but the author did manage to make (the vilified, according to history) AP out to be...oddly likeable and with a sense of honour and loyalty/duty. I would have hated it if she had been a puppet, easily manipulated and used, but when I tried to find out about her, the author's portrayal seemed totally at odds with historical facts.

Edward himself seemed a strange blend of loving husband, loving lover, yet weakened at the loss of his wife, then further so at the loss of his son, and additionally at what he deemed AP's betrayal.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying 6 Jan 2013
I found this book hard going, superficial and over-long. The large amount of conversation (some using very modern phrases) and lack of description of the physical world inhabited by the characters made me feel that the story could have been set in any almost any period. The focus of the book is narrow. Surely Alice didn't spend all her time thinking about the King but had some involvement with her estates and the upbringing of her children?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The story of the notorious Alice Perrers 2 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the second novel by Anne O'Brien that I have read recently, and I have enjoyed them both. Although both novels were written in the first person, a narrative technique that I usually don't like as it is difficult for authors to pull off, I have found O'Brien's writing convincing and applaud her for this.

The protagonist of this particular novel is Alice Perrers, best known as mistress to Edward III. Not an awful lot, it seems, is really known about Alice, at least before her time at court. O'Brien has used known facts and woven her story about these, filling in the gaps with imagination and probability. Historically, Alice Perrers has never come across as a particularly nice person, seeming to be greedy, grasping and manipulative. O'Brien doesn't do a total whitewash job on her, but she does give a more sympathetic portrayal. Her Alice is still keen to acquire land holdings, but seen as a woman who has come from practically nothing and can see what her future might be without royal patronage, it is difficult to really blame her. History has always tended to be written by the victors and by men, and in medieval times they would not have liked a woman stepping out of her 'place' so it is quite understandable that Alice Perrers should have been so vilified.

Overall, I thought this was a good read. I read Vannora Bennett's The People's Queen a while back, which is also about Alice Perrers (she seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance!) but I preferred O'Brien's book. The cover gives O'Brien a plaudit of being 'better than Philippa Gregory'. Well, I can't argue with that as I haven't cared much for either of the books by Gregory that I have read, so I will wholeheartedly agree that O'Brien is much more worth reading! I look forward to her book on Eleanor of Aquitaine.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars review of the kings concubine
i found it very interesting as i did not know anything much about Alice Perrers.very good story and well written.
Published 1 month ago by Brenda
4.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective
I have enjoyed reading this novel particularly since it is written from the perspective of 'The King's Concubine' herself instead of from the usual 3rd party storyteller. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CMP
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
As with all of Anne O'Brien's books I've read so far this is an extremely good read. The storyline combines historical fact with historical fiction. Read more
Published 2 months ago by tillymint
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
It made me want to write a book myself. Superb. The characters are well thought and consistent and the plots are simple but elegant
Published 2 months ago by P M Snare
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining ?
This is written with a great deal of pride, I have noticed you also remark about anther writer saying how better you are, that's a sham because I believe your books are just as... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. L. D. Harding
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
I wasn't a great fan of Anne O'brien, the book was ok but when they say better than phillipa Gregory nah it's not, i liked the fact that we see a more intimate version our our... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Abbi G
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story
This was one of the best books of its type that I have read for a long time, I just hated to be interrupted or to put it down, defiantly one I will read again
Published 3 months ago by sallyanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes
an insight into the private lives of our monarchs revealing a more tender side to them. Enlightening and moving in the extreme
Published 3 months ago by June Briffett
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
I have read a few Anne O'Brien novels and really enjoyed them. I am interested in history especially medieval history and although her books are novels there is a string of truths... Read more
Published 3 months ago by country gal
4.0 out of 5 stars Making history come alive.
I enjoy historical novels. It brings the people and the period to life. I also like the fact that writers have 'discovered' women as I am sure that even if women's voices were not... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sylvia Flowers
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