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Virgin Widow: England's Forgotten Queen…

Virgin Widow: England's Forgotten Queen (MIRA) (edition 2010)

by Anne O'Brien

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2273194,204 (3.78)3
The story of Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick and queen to Richard III, during the bloody War of the Roses.
Title:Virgin Widow: England's Forgotten Queen (MIRA)
Authors:Anne O'Brien
Info:Mira Books (2010), Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:read 2010, historical fiction, medieval

Work Information

The Virgin Widow by Anne O'Brien

  1. 10
    The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman (lollypop917)
    lollypop917: Follows the life of Richard III
  2. 00
    The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (tina1969)
  3. 00
    A Secret Alchemy by Emma Darwin (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: The War of the Roses from Elizabeth Woodville's point of view.

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I am only giving this book 4 stars for a few reasons:

1) I wanted the completed story. Could be selfish on my part but it ends right after Anne gives birth to her son. There is much more to her story then this.

2) The author's take on the relationship between Margaret of Anjou and Edward Prince of Wales - bordering on incest really did not sit well with me at all. I know she had put all of her with him but I do not believe this occurred at all and with all the books I have read on her - both fact and historical fiction this was a first for me.

3) There is no mention of Richard III's relationship with the woman or women who bore him two (2) illegtimate children. Richard wants Anne to divulge everything with regards to her relationship with Edward Prince of Wales but tells her nothing of his outside relationships nor does she ask him?

4) I couldn't make up my mind if I liked this version of Anne or not. With other books I have read I have found her to be a strong woman for the most part - here I was back and forth and found her to be a bit dizzy headed and I was getting irritated with her.

A big disappointing but a good read. ( )
  ChrisCaz | Feb 23, 2021 |
3.5 stars This book takes a different look at the Wars of the Roses, told mainly as a love story. I liked the way Anne Neville and Richard Duke of Gloucester were portrayed and how their relationship developed, although that part is no more than conjecture. The author did stick closely to historical facts, although overall historical events took a backseat to Anne's personal story. As a love story, I enjoyed the book and I thought it was a good read and well written.

There were a few things that let the book down and lowered my rating. While a lot of effort and detail went into the characters of Anne and Richard, the same cannot be said for some other protagonists. Margaret of Anjou and her son Edward in particular were simply evil without any other characteristics. There was also a suggestion of incest that was quite unnecessary and didn't actually lead anywhere. I also found it odd that Anne would refer to her parents as the Earl and Countess throughout the book. Lastly, my edition didn't have any historical notes, which I think are an important part for any serious work of historical fiction.

I liked it, but didn't love it. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
3.5 Stars...

Anne O'Brien's Virgin Widow tells the story of Anne Neville from her early years as the daughter of the powerful Earl of Warwick until the birth of her son with Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

Although little is known about Anne Neville's life, using the tumultuous years of the Wars of the Roses as a backdrop, O'Brien is able to bring this little known figure to life. She is portrayed as a strong and likeable young woman, one who has to endure an unhappy marriage to the Prince of Wales, son of Margaret of Anjou and Henry VI, as well as the disintegration and division of her family in the struggle between the Yorks and the Lancasters for the throne of England, before eventually finding happiness and contentment with Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

As a love story this novel is entirely satisfying. Anne Neville and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, are well drawn and engaging. In addition, their love story is developed in such a way as to be entirely plausible. Unfortunately, I was not expecting a love story to be the principal focus of this novel when I picked it up. The synopsis I read prior to purchasing the novel led me to believe this book would focus more on the political aspects of the era in which Anne Neville lived rather than the romantic. The political is definitely discussed - it would be difficult to write a novel about the Neville's of this era without it - but it rarely takes centre stage and, as a result, this aspect of the novel didn't fulfil my expectations. The author states in her author's note that the book is meant as a romance, but the note was placed at the end of the book so I didn't read it until I'd already finished the novel. I wish I'd known this going into reading the novel, as I would have adjusted my expectations accordingly.

Despite the novel not being entirely what I expected it would be, I still enjoyed it overall. I thought the story flowed well and moved quickly and, while I felt certain secondary characters were poorly fleshed out or too black and white, the main characters were quite well-developed. With respect to events and peoples of the Wars of the Roses period, O'Brien stuck closely to known historical fact. My only criticism of the novel relates to certain speculation taken by the author with respect to the nature of the relationship between Margaret of Anjou and her son, Prince Edward. I felt the nature of the relationship postulated by the author was far too sensational - it has no basis in historical fact and detracted from the storyline rather than enhancing it. In fact, this one bit of sensationalism is the reason this novel became a 3.5-star read for me rather than a 4-star one.

I recommend this novel to readers interested in getting a general overview of the Wars of the Roses period or to those looking for a nice historical love story.
( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book, but apparently it wasn't memorably enough because I should have done the book review when I finished reading it instead of waiting a month. The book really did grab me though and I didn't want to put it down. ( )
  mtunquist | Nov 29, 2015 |
I enjoyed this book, but apparently it wasn't memorably enough because I should have done the book review when I finished reading it instead of waiting a month. The book really did grab me though and I didn't want to put it down. ( )
  mtunquist | Nov 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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For my husband, George. In gratitude for his enduring support, and his faith in me and Anne Neville.
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Isabel whimpered.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The story of Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick and queen to Richard III, during the bloody War of the Roses.

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