1459, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York is a matriarch at the heart of the Wars of the Roses. Her husband has his eyes on the crown but family feuding and political necessity lead to civil war…
The Queen’s Rival is an historical novel covering the years 1459 to 1483 as the Yorkist faction attempts to seize and then hold power in England. But once they have the Crown, can they keep it?
Cecily is a marvellous character, quick witted and sharp tongued. She is highly conscious of her family’s honour, scathing in her attitude to her enemies with a wonderfully antagonistic relationship with one of her sisters, struggling to cope with the fears and angst at the behaviour of her children.
Anne O’Brien has done a fabulous job of bringing Cecily and her machinations to life. The plot is delivered through multiple means including letters, personal commentary, prayers and scurrilous news reports. It took me a little while to settle into the narrative structure but then I was completely hooked.
Cecily appears multi dimensional and therefore more realistic and human: a wife, a mother, a sister as well as a woman in her own right. Her letters are so personal and have a modern edge which means they lose their authentic historic tone, however this makes her more easy to identify with for a modern audience.
The book doesn’t shy away from the brutality of war and the civil and personal unrest that pitted family members against each other. However, it is the personal element that shines as Cecily responds and reacts to events. The personal and political cannot be separated in this world where families fight for rival factions to the death. Knowledge of the era does not impinge on the enjoyment of the plot developments as they are skilfully handled by the author.
The Queen’s Rival is a wonderful testament to an unforgettable woman.
Book Title: The Queen’s Rival
Author: Anne O’Brien
Publication Date: 15th April 2021(paperback) September 2020 (Hardback and ebook)
Page Length: 531 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Twitter Handle: @anne_obrien @maryanneyarde
Instagram Handless: @coffeepotbookclub
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One family united by blood. Torn apart by war…
The Wars of the Roses storm through the country, and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, plots to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne.
But when the Yorkists are defeated at the battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flee and abandon her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.
Stripped of her lands and imprisoned in Tonbridge Castle, the Duchess begins to spin a web of deceit. One that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI, and to her eldest son being crowned King Edward IV.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-queens-rival-anne-obrien/1137842630
Sunday Times Bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history.
Today she has sold over 700,000 copies of her books medieval history novels in the UK and internationally. She lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels which breathe life into the forgotten women of medieval history.
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