17 December 2015

The Queen's Choice - Review

The Queen's Choice
Anne O'Brien

What they say: France, 1399: The Duke of Brittany is dead and his widow, Joanna of Navarre, has inherited control of their land - a testament to her intellect, integrity and political prowess.

Then comes an unprecedented proposal from Henry IV, King of England. The price of becoming his Queen? Abandoning her homeland, leaving her children and sacrificing her independence.

Henry’s hold on the crown is unsteady and war is brewing. With the constant threat of rebellion, Henry will trust no-one – not even his new Queen. Crossing the channel is a dangerous prospect. But the union between Joanna and Henry would bring the chance of a vital alliance between two proud states – if they will allow it.

One question. Two paths. A choice that will make history.

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Buy links:
Amazon * Amazon UK

I received a copy from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review!

What I say: I have to admit Joanna of Navarre (Joan/Anne) the Duchess of Brittany isn't a historical figure I knew a great deal about until reading The Queen's Choice. In my ignorance I hadn't actually realised she was the same Joanna associated with Henry IV. The book was definitely an eye opener in terms of my missing royal knowledge.

The book is set in the late 1300's and early 1400's and Joanna is happily married to the much older John. She meets Henry, Earl of Derby, and is surprised by the instant draw she feels between them. Years later they meet again and are faced with a different set of obstacles. I really don't want to discuss too much of the actual history and give away any of the plot, so I won't go into further details about what happens between Joanna and the exiled Henry.

I have discovered from years of reading and enjoying historical fiction, is to only accept the facts and truths presented in these stories with a certain amount of trepidation; they're not factual books. The characters are either fictionalised versions of historical figures, or entirely new characters created for the story.

The main thing I noticed was that because the story was based on real people, it wasn't romance and rainbows. They were often pawns in the political drama of the time and I felt really bad for both of them. 

I found myself quickly engrossed in Joanna's story and couldn't believe I didn't know more about her before (shame on me). The descriptions and beautiful imagery really helped to recreate the feel of France and England at the time. 

4 Stars in my Sky!


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