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Feature book: The King’s Concubine

29 August 2012

The King’s Concubine by Anne O’Brien

As this story opens we meet Alice, an abandoned baby, who was left at a nunnery. Her first venture outside the nunnery sees her becoming a maid to an older man and his family. She is surprised to be married to this man and gains a surname, Perrers, and a bridal gift, money. She takes a risk and trusts her husband’s associate to invest the money in real estate. When her husband dies, she inherits a manor house and returns to the nunnery.

At the nunnery, she has a brief meeting with Queen Phillipa, which leads to her being summoned to the palace. She soon becomes one of the Queen’s damsels, which offers her a life of which she never dreamed. She is shocked when the Queen informs her that she brought her to the palace with the intent that she would be the King’s mistress as the Queen is too sick to meet his needs. Reluctantly Alice agrees to this and all of her relationships are immediately altered.

When she meets William de Windsor she is intrigued by him and his request for her to be his eyes at court as he builds his power base in Ireland. Alice agrees to do this. As Alice’s relationship with the King continues she gives birth to four children and her real estate portfolio continues to grow.

When the Queen dies, the King retreats into mourning. Eventually a group of powerful men within the court ask Alice to do whatever is needed to have the King resume his post. Alice agrees and then the King summons William de Windsor home, angry at reports from Ireland. William is allowed to return to Ireland to resume his post; he marries Alice, with her agreement, before he leaves. Alice feels secure in her position in court but is unaware that she now has placed herself at risk, giving her enemies two avenues to destroy her.

This Medieval romance tells the story of Alice Perrers, who has previously been seen in a negative light. It is well written and full of detail; however, there is a lot of information to process for the reader. I also found that as the story began to pick up pace, reading from Alice’s point of view only did restrict the impact of some events in the story. This book offers history buffs a great read and does provide an interesting backdrop to current day royalty scandals.

reviewed by Tracey T

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment will go in the draw to win the book. The giveaway closes 19 September 2012.

  1. aimskye permalink
    3 September 2012 1:18 pm

    Great review Tracey. Sounds very interesting the spilt of factual/fictional


  2. Jet permalink
    30 August 2012 2:17 pm

    I love Anne O’Briens take on historical facts. Can’t wait to read this!

  3. lynette williams permalink
    30 August 2012 11:23 am

    sounds half fictional Half factual a good read

  4. Na S. permalink
    30 August 2012 6:10 am

    Anne’s story sounds so intriguing. Her past sounds dark but at the same time it sounds like she rose above it.

  5. Barbara permalink
    29 August 2012 5:45 pm

    Good review Tracey….. I love historicals and this looks like one I would enjoy

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