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4.2 out of 5 stars
549
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Forbidden Queen
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£3.49


on 24 April 2014
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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on 5 February 2017
Katherine de Valois at the age of 14 is used as a political pawn and married to Henry V. It's a loveless marriage and once she gives birth to the heir is left alone constantly. She is widowed just after several years and due to the politics Katherine lives in the shadow of several strong men who make her life complex. Katherine is pursued by and falls in love with Edmund Beaufort. Wanting to marry they are both blocked by the government officials who see Edmund as a political high flyer who wanted to control the young king of England. Alone again, Katherine eventually finds love with Owen Tudor who is a member of her household staff. Together Katherine and Owen fight against all odds for their happiness and life together.
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.
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on 16 February 2015
I notice from the cover that the Times has said: "Outdoes even Philippa Gregory." I assume this the beginning of the sentence and the end reads: "in using jarring modern idiom in a historical setting". This happened pretty much on every page. When a 14C Duke apologies for being too hasty by saying: "I have been too previous" one is immediately pulled back to 21st century.

The novel was written as a breathy, breathless romance in the voice of a self-obsessed modern woman. At times she was grandiose, but mainly she was self-pitying and mistrustful. All these things are fine for a voice, but they need to have the reason for them explained. There was no sense of exploring her character whatsoever. The protagonist created a roller coaster of emotion for which there was no explanation apart from her own paranoia. This was regularly cranked up to provide some kind of drama. After we had been through this a few times I felt very irritated at being manipulated in this way.

I thought it was dire really. Mills and Boon have missed an author here.

About halfway through I was thinking of giving up but I realised that I didn't have anything else to read. And then I thought that maybe I did want to know what happened. So I gritted my teeth and read the rest. Reader, I finished it. Hence the two stars.
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on 27 August 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from Miss. O'Brien's pen. I read many of the reviews and found that most of them tried to put it against Anya Seton's book, Katherine. I found it unfair to do this. I, too read Katherine way back in the 60's and loved it and not realise it had become an iconic book. Miss O'Brien's book deals with Katherine and her Duke as they discover their love that was to last a life time and beyond. Of course, as with all historical characters, we do not know their thoughts and feelings, but with the amount of research that a novelist of Miss. O'Brien,s calibre does you can imagine. Read this book as a stand alone book and be transported back to walk beside Katherine and her John. Their passion must have been great to have lasted through all the dreadful tragedies that happened to them. Perhaps for them, love did conquer all.
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on 29 June 2015
I chose to read this book before Anya Seton’s “Katherine” deliberately because I did not want to base my opinion on a possibly unfair comparison between what reviews paint as THE milestone fiction novel on Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt and this new attempt by an author whom I generally appreciate to tackle the same subject.

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.
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on 29 November 2015
A very enjoyable read about Katherine de Valois. As Miss. O'Brien says, there is so little known of her. The author h as yet again, brought a medieval, strong woman out of the shadows and into the light. I always believed, through the many books that I have read on Katherine, that her marriage and births of her children were kept secret from Gloucester and the council, but this book tells it differently and I prefer this telling. Catherine's death is still shrouded in mystery, so sad. I have recently bought the first of a trilogy about Owen, just to find out what happened to him and their children after Katherine's death. I have read so many Tudor novels, but never about the founders of the dynasty. I enjoyed Forbidden Queen. Another Anne O'Brien success.
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on 5 August 2016
The reviews led me to expect this book was going to be on a par with Philippa Gregory's books, which I love. It was more like Mills & Boon. Far too much romance and not enough weight to the story for my taste. I'm sorry I bought it.

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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on 1 August 2016
A really good story of two people whose love lasts through whatever life and circumstances throw at them. The characters really come alive and I found it difficult to put this book down. One minor niggle was the continuous repetition of how in love these two were; just over half way through I found myself mentally editing the text to find alternate ways to express the depth of their love and the impact they had on each other. I would have liked something at the end of the book to say how Katherine lived the rest of her life after John died. But I enjoyed this book anyway. Thank you.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 April 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
The Scandalous Duchess written by Anne O'Brien for me was another good read from one of my favourite authors, for one main reason Anne brings historical figures alive and she certainly knows her historical facts while doing so.
For this particular book Anne used Lady Katherine Swynford as the main character as she fought her way from destitution but for her the gamble she was prepared to take was going to cost her so much more. I really enjoyed this book as Anne O'Brien knows how to take a historical figure while using historical facts but yet she brings history alive using descriptions so vivid I could see the scenes taking place while I read her words.
The year of the beginning of the book is 1372, Katherine is left destitute when she decides to present herself at the court of Prince John Plantagenet Duke of Lancaster, hoping this will be the answer to her money problems. But for Katherine she will soon realise when you make deals with the evil Prince John it was for her a deal with the devil and she will loose so much more than money can ever repay.
This is an excellent read which I thoroughly enjoyed and for me The Scandalous Duchess is a book which will please any fan of early history and one if you enjoy reading about the strong women of our past.
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on 10 August 2014
I started this book with sample and to be quite honest I was in two minds whether to buy or not and I am so glad now that I did. Katherine I found to be selfish in both her love (at first) and also in her hate. As for John, as described in the book, supremely arrogant but you also come to love him. A real mixture of fact and fiction, I came to love this book and found myself quite emotional at times and when I had to continue well into the night, at one point I became so lost in the story that I felt like I was Katherine.
People have mentioned the book Katherine by Anya Seaton and almost tried to compare the two. But it is wrong to do this. I am a great Anya Seaton fan but I preferred this.

It is a shame though that you cannot get any other A.S. books on kindle. For anyone who knows how to put them on - GREEN DARKNESS is my all time favourite but my copy is now so worn I daren't read it again but would love to do so.
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