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The Scandalous Duchess Paperback – 7 Mar 2014
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Praise for Anne O’Brien
‘Joanna of Navarre is the feisty heroine in Anne O’Brien’s fast-paced historical novel The Queen’s Choice.’
‘O’Brien is a terrific storyteller’
- Daily Telegraph
‘A gripping story of love, heartache and political intrigue.’
-Woman & Home
‘Packed with drama, danger, romance and history, The Queen’s Choice is the perfect reading choice for the long winter nights.’
- The Press Association
‘A gripping historical drama.’
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.
Top customer reviews
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They marry in secret and have a child. This sends shock and scandal in the court.
I've never read anything about this Queen of England so found it fascinating. Would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a historical novel.
I’m afraid that however unprejudiced, my review must confirm this novel is no masterpiece, at least not for those readers who seek historical fiction to get some facts (possibly right) alongside a fictional account of the “behind closed doors” actions and dialogues leading to the documented events. Ms O’Brien has made it a personal brandmark to write all fiction novels about her heroines in the first person and narrowing down the point of view of the novel to one character usually creates problems in finding a way to deliver background information that is consistent with this approach. This is even more true in this case, where our main character is little better than a bed-warmer and child-breeder for over 20 years and the only information we have on the very complex historical period she lived in is either through gossip or through her lover’s words.
No wonder then that the account of such a dramatic event like the Peasants’ revolt is described in less than a paragraph in 600 pages and Katherine takes it in as little more than a deplorable nuisance that has the despicable side effect of the destruction of her lover’s London palace, the Savoy, that she thinks of with affection remembering her first romps in bed with the Duke of Lancaster. At least the product description was honest in this respect “She will live in the shadows of the most powerful man in England in the hope of a love greater than propriety.” And that’s exactly what you get: shadows of major historical facts and a whole book concentrated on a selfabsorbed woman who was the object of one of the most famous love affairs in English history. Shame is, even that could have been rendered more plausibly and with real passion and inner torment, with the Duke’s phrase “You stir my loins” setting the mood and tone of the novel from the very first pages.
For the rest, the book is well written and the vocabulary is rich and varied, even if the excessive thought-chewing between one sentence and the other during dialogues did take a toll on my possibly already worn patience. So, it is true that it can be generally considered to be better than Philippa Gregory, but it still does not mean this is an entirely satisfying reading, especially when you know this very same author was and is capable of better achievements.
It's not a bad book in itself if you like the romance genre. It's well-written, although poorly edited. (There are a few typos and grammatical errors.) But it's a sugary bodice ripper rather than being anything more substantial. I confess I've not been able to finish the book so maybe it improves but I've persevered to about 20% of the way through and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I don't think I can face any more of it.
I wish I'd spent the two quid on a lottery ticket, then I'd not have felt so bad about losing my money.
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