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The Scandalous Duchess [Kindle Edition]

Anne O'Brien
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

If you will be a great man’s mistress you must pay the price…

1372, The Savoy. Widow Lady Katherine Swynford presents herself for a role in the household of merciless royal prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, hoping to end her destitution. But the Duke’s scandalous proposition leaves her life of pious integrity reeling…

Seduced by the glare of royal adoration, Katherine becomes John’s mistress. She will leave behind everything she has stood for to play second fiddle to his young wife and ruthless ambition. She will live in the shadows of the most powerful man in England in the hope of a love greater than propriety.

But soon the court whispers – whore, harlot, vile temptress – reach the ears of not just John’s bride but his most dangerous political enemies. As the Plantagenet prince is accused of bringing England to its knees, who better to blame than shameless she-devil Katherine Swynford?

Dragged from the shadows, Katherine must answer for her sins.

Praise for Anne O’Brien:

‘Anne O’Brien has joined the exclusive club of excellent historical novelistsSunday Express

‘One of the best writers around…she outdoes even Philippa GregoryThe Sun

‘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 historyYorkshire Post

‘Once again O’Brien proves herself a medieval history magician, conjuring up a sizzling, sweeping storyLancashire Evening Post

‘An exciting and intriguing story of love and historical politics. If you enjoy Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir you will love Anne O'BrienWe Love This Book

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

‘A fast paced historical drama that is full of suspense.’ Essentials

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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 was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master's 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 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 folklore, all providing inspiration. Anne is the author of The Virgin Widow, The Devil's Consort, The King's Concubine, and The Forbidden Queen

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6200 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; 1 edition (7 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G2DLN78
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,057 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

After leaving teaching, Anne decided to turn to novel writing and give voice to the women in history who fascinated her the most, beginning with Virgin Widow, which told the story of Anne Neville, the wife of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Since then, she has told the stories of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Devil's Consort, Alice Perrers, the mistress of Edward III, in The King's Concubine, Katherine de Valois, the child bride of Henry V, in The Forbidden Queen and Katherine Swynford, mistress of John of Gaunt, in The Scandalous Duchess. Her latest novel The King's Sister is the story of Elizabeth of Lancaster, caught up in dramatic and bloody family politics in the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV.

Today Anne lives in an eighteenth century cottage in Herefordshire, an area full of inspiration for her work.

Visit Anne online at
Find Anne on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @anne_obrien

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A contribution of value! 24 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Theresa Tomlinson's review
Mar 24, 14 · edit

4 of 5 stars

I started reading this book with some trepidation as Anya Seton's KATHERINE was the book that started me on a lifelong obsession with historical novels - and I have eventually ended up writing them myself. I didn't like the over glamorous cover design! At first I felt uncertain - the book was very easy to read and romantic - starting straight into the Katherine Swynford/John of Gaunt relationship with very little build up, but the more I continued, the more I found that the remarkable historical events seemed to take over. This story cannot follow the classical romance because we know roughly what happened and a lot of it was not romantic at all. I felt that Anne O Brian conveyed the darker moments on Katherine's life very well and I found myself reading late at night, gripped by the heroines hardships - desperate for things to improve, as I knew they must. All in all I think this novel does add something of value to Katherine's astonishing story and I feel that the more writers who tackle this interesting period the better. When I finished it I went straight back to read the Anya Seton version again and then on to Alison Weir's excellent biography of Katherine Swynford. That can't be a bad reaction! Who is going to write the next version? Judging by the interest that has developed in the Tudor period from the many different versions - this could be the next big thing!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anne. O'Brien has produced her best book to date. Her knowledge of history and her infinite a facility to describe the feelings of people have helped make this the best book yet. She has chosen an extremely difficult subject, as there is so little factual history about her. But the Duchess comes to life under her skilled guidance. Lancaster is the large figure that he has always been, but her sympathic playing of him, makes him become a real person, with a glimpse of the overbearing tyrant that he could be.
The descriptions of life in those days is made real, the dripping of the roof at Kettletthorpe compared to the riches and opulence of The Savoy, makes one realise the different ways, that people existed in in those days. Katherine yearns to return to court life, but she is bound to her moldering keep, in order to preserve it for the son of her marriage.
Katherine is frequently torn between her love for Lancaster and returning to the Keewp and her duties as the land holder there.
A marvelous view of life on those days, which made me feel as though I was sharing the whole story with Katherine, together with her joys and sorrows. A superior book to Anya Setton's Katherine, the previous definite book on her.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As the BBC's `Big Read' showed Anya Seton's 'Katherine' [l954] has had an enduring appeal to readers for sixty years. It was one of the books on my mother's book shelf and I read and loved it as a young teenager. In later years, memories of enjoying this book led me firstly to undertake a pilgrimage to Lincoln Cathedral to Katherine's grave and more importantly to read Alison Weir's non fiction account 'Katherine Swynford'. Weir's book is a scholarly and fascinating account of the life story of Katherine and John of Gaunt. With these two great books firmly in mind I approached Anne O'Brien's new take on Katherine and John's love story 'The Scandalous Duchess' with some trepidation. I am happy to say this new telling of the old story did not disappoint. The story is broadly[or perhaps I should say `loosely'?] on the same lines as Seton's novel [how could it not be] but this is definitely a fresh take on the story and, although O'Brien does not credit the outstanding research done by Weir,her novel does read as if she has taken Weir's research into account when writing her story . There is no hint in Seton's novel that John of Gaunt had many sexual encounters apart from his liaison with Katherine. However O'Brien does not shirk from writing about this and the effect, we in the 21st century assume, it would have had on Katherine. Nevertheless O'Brien does stop short at speculating, as Weir does, that there is a possibility that the 58 year old John of Gaunt died of a venereal disease. For the romantically inclined reader,however,the main thing is that, as history shows us,despite misunderstandings, the lovers overcame many years of trials and tribulations until in the end : `Reader' she `married him'! The dubious fact that this was to lead to her descendants giving us the perfidious Henry 7th is something even this Richard 3rd fan was prepared to put one side in the sheer pleasure of such a satisfactory, and historically surprising ending. fjs 
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Scandalous Duchess 2 Feb. 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I think any author writing a novel about Katherine Swynford has a hard row to hoe. The quintessential historical novel about this enigmatic and historically important lady has to be Anya Seton’s ‘Katherine’ and for many readers any other novels about her are going to be measured against this classic and found wanting. Unfortunately this new novel featuring Katherine falls into this category.

If you haven’t read ‘Katherine’ then you will probably enjoy this romanticised version of what is actually a marvellous love story. John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford overcame many years of separation to achieve what seems to have been a happy marriage and this shines through the book. I found some of the dialogue clunky and unbelievable and found myself skimming some of it. Unfortunately I found this book a disappointing read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely look in the past
Very good read loved all the history and descriptions of costumes and castles of the middle ages. I will read some more of Anne O Briens books
Published 28 days ago by rollyjill
5.0 out of 5 stars a good historical read
Good reading
Published 1 month ago by SUSAN EVA PUGH
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scandalous Duchess. By Anne O'Brien
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from Miss. O'Brien's pen. I read many of the reviews and found that most of them tried to put it against Anya Seton's book, Katherine. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Benmaric
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Eileen Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely romantic story
I loved it. I couldn't put it down. A piece of our history I had little knowledge of being an avid reader of tudor history. It is nice to go back further and learn more.
Published 2 months ago by Vintage-B
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Didn't complete reading this book.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs j Wallis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent. Anne OBrien is a wonderful author
Published 2 months ago by Jacky1
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good buy
Published 2 months ago by Miss Anita Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if you love History.
Excellent reading.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. M. E. Tuffen
2.0 out of 5 stars "Better than Gregory", but it does not mean good
I chose to read this book before Anya Seton’s “Katherine” deliberately because I did not want to base my opinion on a possibly unfair comparison between what reviews paint as THE... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Isabella
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