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The Scandalous Duchess by [O'Brien, Anne]
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The Scandalous Duchess Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 227 customer reviews

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Length: 608 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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

As a prolific reader and ex-history teacher, Anne O’Brien has been lucky to fulfil her ambition to write historical romances. Her first success was a 400 word love story about a garden for Mills & Boon – an auspicious start! Anne lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century cottage. It is a place that gives her much inspiration and many sources for her writing. Anne often makes time to visit old houses, gardens and priories to absorb atmosphere for her novels.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2857 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: HQ; 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 227 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,818 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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