2019 Jan 18
Anne Neville is the heiress and daughter of the greatest power-broker in the land, Warwick the Kingmaker. Trapped in a deadly tangle of political intrigue, she is a pawn in an uncertain game, used by the houses of Neville, York and Lancaster alike.. In England’s glittering court, treacherous court, not all wish to see the Nevilles raised high. The Earl of Warwick’s ambition and pride lead him into an attempt to depose the Yorkist King; his treason forces his family into exile.
Humiliated and powerless in a foreign land, Anne must find the courage and the wit to survive in a man’s world.
Set against the backdrop of 15th century England, O’Brien’s debut novel uncovers one of history’s forgotten queens – Anne Neville, daughter of the Kingmaker (a man known to place Kings on the throne and just as easily tear them down) and the beloved of Richard III. The inspiration for this novel stems from the fact that Anne Neville was wife to one of the most notorious Kings, yet we hardly knew anything about her.
O’ Brien allows us to experience Anne’s maturation from a little girl to a free-spirited, determined young woman (rather than the submissive character you would expect). She is used as a pawn in a game of political intrigue but is constantly surrounded by supporting strong characters (both good and bad), which is where her demanding personality gets its influence. While the author breathes life into Anne and gives this protagonist considerably more spirit, the framework in which she sets this novel is still accurate. Between the Neville, Yorkist and Lancastrian houses, a considerable amount of danger always shadows Anne as she ventures from territory to territory pursued by never ending political instability, treachery and drama.
This courageous heroine and the ordeals she faces captures the reader’s attention from beginning to end, making you question how she was kept under the wraps all this time. And while romance plays a big role in this novel, it doesn’t over power the reading experience. There’s plenty more going on between the pages for the readers to be immersed in. Overall, this is a great book with fresh perspective for any fans of historical fiction.