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Virgin Widow [Kindle Edition]

Anne O'Brien
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

'I was a penniless, landless petitioner, my Neville blood a curse, my future dependent on the charity of those who despised me…

Anne Neville is the heiress and daughter of the greatest powerbroker in the land, Warwick the Kingmaker. Trapped in a deadly tangle of political intrigue, she is a pawn in an uncertain game, used by the houses of Neville, York and Lancaster alike.

In England’s glittering, treacherous court, not all wish to see the Nevilles raised high. The Earl of Warwick’s ambition and pride lead him into an attempt to depose the Yorkist King; his treason forces his family into exile.

Humiliated and powerless in a foreign land, Anne must find the courage and the wit to survive in such a dangerous man’s world.

Compulsively readable, Anne O’Brien vividly evokes the story of Richard III’s queen with a passion and vibrancy reminiscent of Phillipa Gregory and Alison Weir.

Praise for Anne O’Brien:

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

‘One of the best writers around…she outdoes even Philippa Gregory’ The 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 history’ Yorkshire Post

‘Once again O’Brien proves herself a medieval history magician, conjuring up a sizzling, sweeping story’ Lancashire 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'Brien’ We Love This Book

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

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

Product Description


'Better than Philippa Gregory.' --The Bookseller

Anne O'Brien has joined the exclusive club of excellent historical novelists. --Sunday Express

Anne O Brien has joined the exclusive club of excellent historical novelists. --Sunday Express

About the Author

Anne O'Brien turned to writing historical romance novels after retiring as a history schoolteacher. After living most of her life in Yorkshire, she now lives with her husband in an 18th century cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches.

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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
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Virgin Widow 21 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Anne O'Brien's The Virgin Widow centers on Anne Neville, a historical figure I knew little about. The youngest daughter of the Earl of Warwick, Anne is born into a fantastically wealthy and privileged family.

Her father, credited as "The Kingmaker", was instrumental in the deposition of Henry VI, elderly and suffering dementia, into the Tower of London as prisoner and the ascension of Edward IV of York to England's throne.

Anne grows up with a kind mother, a father she adores but often absent on embassies on behalf of Edward, and her older sister, Isabel, with whom she has a frequently acrimonious relationship.

Richard of York, Duke of Gloucester, Edward IV's youngest brother, arrives to reside at the Neville household when Anne was 8 years old, to learn combative skills and courtly manners necessary to his rank. He joins Francis Lovell, who is the Earl's permanent ward. These young boys will become men intertwined throughout Anne's life.

Anne and Isabel, are joint heiresses to their maternal grandparents' vast accumulation of lands, castles and religious houses. As such, both daughters are cream of the crop prospective brides and highly marketable.

Full of her own importance and self-arrogance, Anne often clashes with Richard. She decides at 10 she will marry Richard, but not because of love. She wants him because she can as Lady Anne Neville.

The first inkling of decline of the Neville house arises with Warwick's disagreement with Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. Soon Woodvilles surround the King and Warwick's advice is rejected. Warwick is still sent to broker alliances for Edward, but there is disagreement between them. Eventually, Warwick and the King are at odds.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written tale of love and woe! 28 Jan. 2014
After reading a couple of Anne O'Brien's other works when the opportunity arose to get this one I jumped at it as I have thoroughly enjoyed her work before and this book is no exception, it's totally enjoyable!

In recent years there have been a few books about Anne Neville and her part in the War Of The Roses, most notable probably Philippa Gregory's The Kingmaker's Daughter, which I read and enjoyed too. I must admit that I actually prefer this version of the tale.

The book takes place in the period of Anne's life running up to her marriage to Richard Of Gloucester and as Anne's real life is a bit of a mystery the author has the opportunity to tell the tale in the way she wants and I appreciate that she had chosen the more romantic approach in this instance.

I like this approach for Anne as she probably had a pretty rough life leading up the marriage to Richard. She was pawn to her father's ambition for himself and his family, betrothed several times for political reasons, firstly to Richard of Gloucester, who she has loved since she was a child and then to Edward of Lancaster who she is forced to marry and has no feelings for whatsoever and who has none for her, he still thinks of his new wife as his enemy. She's emotionally tortured my the circumstances she finds herself in, over and over by both her new husband and his mother until she finds herself alone with no family, no husband and no support whatsoever after Edward of Lancaster's premature death. Anne is placed into the household of his sister Isabel and her husband, Richard of Gloucester's turncoat brother George of Clarence and Anne is kept as a virtual prisoner and treated as an enemy of York because of the marriage she never wanted and the inheritance she is entitle too that Clarence wants for himself.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 10 Mar. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I love historical fiction but the Wars of the Roses is a period I am not so familiar with but like a lot of people I tended to think of Richard 111 as an evil figure with a hump and a limp as depicted in the Shakespeare play. Not so in this version - in fact quite the opposite! He comes over as a loyal, charming and hansome (yes, hansome!) man who you begin to like more and more as the story unfolds. It is his brother, the Duke of Clarence who appears as the villain of the piece. Well, who knows which version is the nearest to the truth but it does make for an excellent read and I am now keen to read more books about Richard and the whole of this troubled period of history.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars less romance please, more oomph! 22 July 2011
I have mixed feelings about this book to be fair. Although Anne O'Brien does a good job in telling the story of Anne Neville, and quickly elicits the reader's sympathy for the young woman who is just another pawn in the Wars of the Roses, the story irritated me for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, is the use of first person, which means the POV is limited. Although we are very (perhaps overly) aware of Anne's feelings, our view of Richard, Duke of Gloucester and soon to be King, is occluded by romanticism. Secondly, the book ends rather abruptly, and the fact that Anne and her child did not live long is glossed over, which is odd, considering that Richard was accused by his contemporaries of being complicit in her death. So the story of Anne Neville is not fully told, which is rather a shame. To balance this, we have the reasons that AN was a 'virgin widow' handled extremely well, as was the legend of her disguised as a kitchen maid, and the glimpse we do get of Richard shows him in a more kindly light than history has allowed. However, none of the characters apart from Anne are fully developed, Margaret of Anjou being two dimensional, though the hint of incest with her son was an interesting idea, perhaps a little more attention there might have rounded both those characters out. Having also read the authors book on Eleanor of Acquitaine, I would respectfully suggest that her next book leave first person alone!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Took a lot of getting into but quite enjoyed it the further on I got into it .
Published 6 days ago by Joan Charlesworth
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Could not get into it at all. I normally enjoy this type of novel, but it wasn't what I was expecting.
Published 12 days ago by Celia McCrea
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Enjoyable read if you like historical fiction especially as Richard Iii is so much in the news.
Published 14 days ago by MRS S M ARROWSMITH
3.0 out of 5 stars its a good book and really romantic you can tell anne Neville ...
its a good book and really romantic you can tell anne Neville has been through a ordeal but if it wasn't like a history novel it would be really good and I enjoyed it but for that... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Rebecca Swain
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A brilliant read, I love her books. Recommend if you like Philippa Gregory.
Published 1 month ago by C M.
5.0 out of 5 stars ... very entertaining book which held the interest and provided...
A very entertaining book which held the interest and provided enjoyment. Interesting development of the Richard the 3rd story which proved to be very topical at the same time.
Published 1 month ago by Gail Hardman-Carr
5.0 out of 5 stars but then I always loved History, I also follow Richard III reburial on...
I find it fascinating, but then I always loved History, I also follow Richard III reburial on T.V.
Published 2 months ago by Eleonore Goodrich
4.0 out of 5 stars another good book
Slow start her but could not put the book down a forgotten women of Plantagenet times and the twist and turns of court life
Published 2 months ago by jacqui
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good read
Published 3 months ago by cecilia
2.0 out of 5 stars Mills and Boon!
On the cover of this book as a review that tell the reader that it is better than a Philippa Gregory novel. It is not. It is simply an over romantic Mills and Boon type of read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by FRANCES
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