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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 2 April 2017
I thought, when I began this book initially, that it wasn't quite as good as The Scandalous Duchess, which I adored. How wrong could I be! It wasn't as good, it wasn't worse, it wasn't better, it was just different and that surprised me I expect. But the story still had been drawn in chapter after chapter, breathless towards the end as Alice met her match against Joan, lost everything only to have it restored by the most unlikely person (in her eyes). You couldn't rest on your laurels in this story and feel secure you knew where it was going or what was going to happen. It's amazing that so often in history, you can't make this stuff up. As ever O'Brien excelled in her storytelling skill and I was visibly moved to tears as she drew Alice and the King's final deathbed scene. Cannot get enough of this lady, brilliant author. If you love historical heroines and women battling to survive against all the odds, this is the book for you.
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on 10 March 2017
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on 5 May 2015
Really enjoyed this book ,loved the Alice character ,got me so interested in that period of. History also .
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on 7 April 2016
Loved it!!
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The King's Concubine is set during reign of Edward III, and describes his relationship with his wife, Philippa of Hainault, and his mistress, Alice Perrers. Little is truly known about the life of Alice Perrers, and yet Anne O'Brien has woven a skilful and believable story about how, in the mid 1360's, young Alice became one of the Queen's waiting women. The way in which Alice colluded with Queen Philippa in order to begin a sexual relationship with the King, is described in a compassionate and romantic manner. The story quickly evolves into a sympathetic and warm account of an aging king and his love affair, not just with his astute young mistress, but also with his wife, and courtiers. The medieval court is beautifully described and is perfectly placed within the context of the story.
There is much debate about Alice Perrers, and the influence she had on the aging King, she is often depicted as an avaricious, scheming harpy, or as a femme fatale, but in The King's Concubine, Anne O'Brien has given a lighter and possibly more sympathetic view of this charismatic medieval mistress.
I enjoyed this version of Alice's early life, and would definitely recommend this book to my friends who enjoy historical fiction by Philippa Gregory, Vanora Bennett and Emma Campion
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on 31 May 2015
Alice Perrers , a young orphan in a convent, comes to the attention of the wife of Edward III – Philippa of Hainault.
The Queen has a position at court for Alice – to perform the wifely duties to Edward III that as an aging and ailing wife, Philippa cannot.
Becoming the Kings mistress and confident of the Queen turns out to be a double edged sword. Alice may be held in high regard by the King and Queen but elsewhere tongues start to wag and her position at court becomes more and more precarious as she becomes more and more involved in the affairs of the Court. As the King begins to ails, he wants Alice close but those closest to the King want her banished. If trouble is starting whilst the King still lives how will Alice fair once he is gone?
A fantastic story full of history, love, politics and treachery – perfect for fans of historical fiction and a must read for all those who love Philippa Gregory!
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you don't mind if a good story plays around with the facts and you like romantic historical fiction then you will not be disappointed! This is top class stuff, full of contemporary detail of the life, clothes, palaces etc of the English Court. I read this in two evenings! The added bonus of this story is that she makes the King, the Queen and the Concubine all very believable and likable in their menage a trois - tricky thing to pull off I think. I think I might go far as to say that I prefer Anne O Brien to Phillippa Gregory!!!!! Don't tell anyone
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Anne O'Brien has written an informative book with a good historical story line.

No doubt with the televisons adaptation of Hillay mantell's Wolf Hall a Minor Tudor revival will take place in people wanting another 'Tudor Fix'.

If this is the case this book will do nicely until the newxt one comes around.

But make no mistake this is Tudor Lite in that the story is lightweight.
O'Brien has obviously protrayed Alice Perrers as a compasionate and caring woman.

I had not realised that she would be so young when she first meets Edward.

This book reflects the times when women were seen as mere chattles of men to do with what and when ever they wanted.
A woman when married was a posession of her husband.

Will of Windsor sounds too good to be true, marrying Alice then allowing her to look after the king..
But then the aristocracy have always done that..
We only have to see what Edward the Seventh 'Bertie with Lillie Langtree and co and his Grandson Edward the Eighth who thought Married Women were fair game, got up to to see that times have not changed that much.

The King is still a mighty top trump when it comes to the bed chamber!

Will was certainly a knight in shining armour to allow the king to have nights in shining armour with her!

I felt a family tree of Alice's would have been of interest and I certainly went and googled Alice after I read this very satisfying book.

I would encourage you to do the same..... but after you have read this book!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 February 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Extremely good, fast moving historical romp packed with believable characters and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. I enjoy Anne O'Brien's books and this is the second one I've read, the first being Devil's Consort, and she hasn't lost any of her pace in The King's Concubine. Beautifully written, well researched and though it's quite saucy in places this book never deteriorates into a "bodice ripper". Takes place in the 1300s and features genuine historical characters written into a fictional plot. Alice Perrers who rises from rags to riches ultimately becoming the mistress of Edward III while, at the same time, becoming lady-in-waiting to his wife Queen Phillipa. As you can imagine, if one is sharing the bed of the King and the confidences of his wife there's going to be some serious conflict and intrigue on offer, but you're also going to be walking a tightrope in terms of your own safety and, that's mostly what the book is about - a woman on her own, looking after herself, living on her own terms, enjoying every moment of it but taking risks. Some great historical characters here including John of Gaunt and William de Windsor, and that's very brave of Anne O'Brien because these are serious people who are well studied and documented but she dares to use them and she uses them well. Easy to read, plenty of characterisations and sub-plots, and I don't know how accurate all of the history is but; what I do know is that it's a bold, interesting attempt at recreating a life and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this very interesting because it's a period of history I knew very little about. From the start the personalities of the historical characters are quickly established, perhaps a little too black and white, but making for a gripping narrative where we want to find out the ultimate fate of Alice, plucked from obscurity to be the concubine of King Edward III. His decline after the loss of his wife Queen Philippa is touchingly described, along with the subsequent fate of Alice, whose meteoric rise has made her many enemies at court. I found the constant emphasis on Alice's ugliness, coupled with the photo of a beautiful woman on the cover and the fact so many men were supposed to be enamoured of her, rather odd. I was also not convinced by some of the language supposedly being used in the fourtenth century: expressions such as: "tell me something I don't know" and "watch your back." But definitely worth reading.
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