Miss More

The King’s Concubine by Anne O’Brien – Book Review

In Books on 07/08/2013 at 12:00 AM

‘This is my gift to him – I lifted you from nothing, Alice. Now you can repay me’ – Queen Phillipa

Honestly, I bought this book because firstly I loved the cover and I will read anything that has A) some royal action B) politics. That’s my stuff right there.

Rating; 4/5

“A child born in the plague year of 1348, abandoned and raised within the oppressive walls of a convent, Alice Perrers refused to take the veil, convinced that a greater destiny awaited her. Ambitious and quick witted, she rose above her obscure beginnings to become the infamous mistress of Edward III. But always, essentially, she was alone… Early in Alice’s life, a chance meeting with royalty changes everything.”

king

Anne O’Brien skillfully chronicles the life of a truly remarkable woman, Alice Perrers was born into poverty and obscurity but went to eventually rise above all. How? No she didn’t rely on common beauty that eventually fades and no she wasn’t particularly learnt but she was intelligent and raw and brave, she knew exactly what she was and actively went to better her circumstances. This is why I admired her from the beginning.

“The King’s Concubine” is written in continuous prose, it’s basically a long ass monologue with “action” here, here and there. I thought that this set out made it very long, because yes the book stretched, but it was so well written that you just forget. This writing style also accommodated the time-span the book is set in, which is like over 20 years (I think) so it made it really easy for time-jumps. The length of the book allowed build up, things didn’t just fall out of the sky and happen which was very realistic. I should add that it started off really slow, so if you have no patience don’t read it (even though you should). The book started slow because O’Brien was trying to set up shop for the character of Alice, which I think is a perfectly good reason.

“A strong woman needed a wilful man to match her. If no, respect flies out of the window”

What does “The King’s Concubine” have to offer….

Love?

Not just the usual romantic love. E.g. How Alice becomes the King’s mistress is very interesting because it’s The King’s Wife that sets it all up, she puts Alice in Edward’s way. Why? Because she loves Edward and there’s is complications in the bedchamber, now that’s love right there. There is self love, Alice herself is as self serving as all the other men in this book and can you blame her. I loved that O’Brien didn’t write her as some angel, historically Alice Perrers is portrayed as ambitious, unscrupulous, indiscreet and greedy (and so were most of the men in King Edward’s court) yet, I grew to respect and love Alice mostly because she hold her own openly and truthfully. There is also a very unconventional love story within the book, it wasn’t some love at first sight bull it was beautiful and no it wasn’t between King and Mistress, although she did love him too, she stayed with him till the end, I think that’s sufficient proof.


‘Why is a woman always difficult when a man has her best interests at heart?’ – William de Windsor

Power & Politics?

Towards the her later years as Edward’s concubine, Alice becomes practically the most powerful person in England, she plunges into the melting pot of power –  a dangerous place for a woman. But when Edward passes away her enemies (which is basically all the powers at Edward’s court) circle her like vultures.

A Female Character Who Is Not A Vagina.

Read “The King’s Concubine” just for Alice, the bad bitch of her time. I truly respected her as a woman, as a power, as a character.

This book doesn’t get 5/5 because it didn’t completely blow my mind away but it was a very compelling page turner and the worst part about it was when it ended. “The King’s Concubine” is available wherever books are sold.

Love, Miss More

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