8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Ok but too romantic for me,
This review is from: Virgin Widow (Paperback)
Oh dearie me I should have been forewarned by other reviewers. If you want a romance set in the fifteenth century then this is for you but if you want to get some insight into the life of Anne Neville leave well alone.
Have to admit the author does a good job with the historical side of things - as accurate in the confines of fiction as she can be. She gives a good telling of the conflicts etc of Edward lV's reign and clearly knows her stuff.
What a pity that it is the main theme that lets the story down. O'Brien has clearly set out to write a love story and a love story is what you get! And how verbose this gets - pages & pages of angst from Anne - does Richard love me, has he forgotten me, why doesn't he say he loves me, should I marry him, why don't I know what he's thinking - oh for for heaven's sake, this was worthy of the Twilight saga!! On many occcasion I felt like giving this Anne Neville a real shake.
Even though written in the first person (again not one I like for this genre) I felt I never got to know Anne as a person, but only as someone wishing for the stars. The real AN was a shadowy figure, unfortunately, who was the perennial pawn in the political world of powerful men, as were many heiresses & noble women of the time. Regardless of any emotional attachment her marriage to Richard was probably the best decision she ever made - it secured her inheritance not only for him but also for her. Otherwise she would have lost everything. I doubt the real Anne would have hesitated!! I would like to think there was some affection - they had some shared experiences as family members & at Middleham after all. Nonetheless she was a child of her times too and would have seen the expediency of such a marriage - if only to secure a future away from Clarence and/or a convent.
The first person writing never let us see the other characters in any other way than good or bad according to AN's point of view which I felt limiting. Richard's character was a little more rounded as she questioned his actions quite frequently and he had to defend or justify them. I didn't quite understand her abhorence when she thought he had 'murdered' Prince Edward, who was depicted as utterly objectionable. In reality Anne had undergone an arranged marriage to an 'enemy', suffered humiliation at the court of Margaret of Anjou, had heard of the death of her father & the apparent loss of her mother, had suffered the aftermath Tewkesbury, had been imprisoned & hidden quite dispicably by Clarence, and been threatened with loss of inheritance - I doubt whether the question of who killed her first husband would have been really at the forefront of her mind. Especially when Richard, too all intents & purposes had rescued her & was offering back the life that she thought she had lost!!
But of course this is a love story and we must have the 'will she/won't she marry him' convention. All I wanted to say - if you don't want him, let someone else have a go, he's a pretty good catch compared to the alternative!
What a shame this could have been such a good tale of Anne Neville, albeit of necessity a work of fiction as so few facts about her life survive, but at 600+ pages and all the aforementioned angst, it didn't really deliver. For me the too long too romantic format swamped the historical value.