Book Review: Queen of the North by Anne O’Brien

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: HQ
Pub date: 31 May 2018
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

To those around her she was a loyal subject.

In her heart she was a traitor.

1399: England’s crown is under threat. King Richard II holds onto his power by an ever-weakening thread, with exiled Henry of Lancaster back to reclaim his place on the throne.

For Elizabeth Mortimer, there is only one rightful King – her eight-year-old nephew, Edmund. Only he can guarantee her fortunes, and protect her family’s rule over the precious Northern lands bordering Scotland.

But many, including Elizabeth’s husband, do not want another child-King. Elizabeth must hide her true ambitions in Court, and go against her husband’s wishes to help build a rebel army.

To question her loyalty to the King places Elizabeth in the shadow of the axe.

To concede would curdle her Plantagenet blood.

This is one woman’s quest to turn history on its head.

This is such an emotional read, I was almost sobbing at some parts but not all were sad tears.

I think most people who enjoy history have heard of the Percys of Northumberland and the Mortimers, although I was aware of the troubles faced by Henry IV I had never read much about it so this was really interesting for me.

What I liked about this book was that it’s told from the viewpoint of a female and her involvement in plots and intrigues but we also still get to read details of the battles as well as how life was for ladies at that time. There’s also vivid descriptions of many castles which I am a big fan of!

“Even the deluge could not hide the impressive defensive position of rhis place known as Sycharth. High on a hill that had been sculpted by the hand of man long past, it was a place of woods and running water that I thought would have held much appeal on a day of sun and mild winds. Constructed by craftsmen, more timber than stone, more manor house than castle, it was superbly protected by two moats over which we crossed to reach the gatehouse.”

As a Mortimer, Elizabeth finds her loyalties torn but eventually her Mortimer loyalty wins through but at great cost which appears to have had a continuous impact on the remainder of her life. Elizabeth has become someone I admire, she made her own decisions and stood strong even against a king despite the repercussions.

Henry Percy (Hotspur) is an individual I’d heard of but knew little about and I found his story to be very intriguing and this book has encouraged me to find out more him and his family.

I don’t like to give spoilers so will avoid giving any but this book is the result of research and imagination and is a wonderful read that is beautifully written.

As well as learning a lot about usurpation by Henry IV and the uprisings he later faced I found it all to be written in such an easy to read manner. I’ve mentioned before that one of the reasons I enjoy historical fiction is because I am always learning and this book as well as being very enjoyable taught me about events I previously had little knowledge of.

This is the first book I’ve read by Anne O’Brien but I am looking forward to reading more.

Queen of the North is available as an ebook, paperback, hardcover and audio.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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