Many thanks to Hayley at Ed Public Relations for sending me this copy and to the publisher.
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.
Having not read around the history of this period this book was very appealing, there's nothing better than understanding a part of history that isn't so well broadcasted in the education system and media- but thanks to Anne O'Brien and her wonderful way with words I've fallen in love with this period that stands before the famous War of the Roses- so don't mistake it for that!
A twisting romantic tale of one of England's least known Queen consorts, Joanna of Navarre, Dowager Duchess of Brittany, the second wife of Henry IV. We come to know how their two lives come together, of how he usurped his cousin Richard II and spent the remainder of his life holding onto what he had gained leaving him with little trust in anyone including his wife and Queen...
Our narration is by Joanna herself, and the sacrifices and challenges that face her to be with the man she loves and the support she provides for her stepson- the famous Henry V. I found her to be a strong willed character, somebody who knows what they want and as Duchess of Brittany she was of value and seen as a strong voice in aiding her husband John IV but after crossing the channel her voice as Queen of England wasn't so pronounced.
This book not only gave me a delightful history lesson in how women of the era were treated, accusations of witchcraft and corruptness, as well as trying to support a husband who lacks trust in a powerful country- it's hard to imagine what Joanna must have gone through. At times I felt she was very much like a modern day woman of making her own choices and didn't seem to have much restriction, but being of royalty her flexibility must have been more prominent- whether this was true to who she was at the time we don't know precisely but I like this portrayal very much so. It backs up the fact of her being brave to remarry and become the Queen of England as well as supporting a stepson and future king, not an easy job when you are disliked by the country's inhabitants- certainly not a role I could have managed!
Never a dull moment, schemes galore, rebellion, and desperation to uphold the monarchy, this novel is a treasure of bringing to light one of history's forgotten Queen's.
If you love historical fiction then pick this book up, it's refreshing to pick up a book and gain a wealth of knowledge with much enjoyment!
Much love to Anne O'Brien I can't wait to get cracking with more of her books.