Thursday, 14 January 2016

5*Review: The Queen's Choice by Anne O'Brien and GIVEAWAY!

Her children or her crown
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.

It is 1936 and Richard II, King of England's wedding day to the very young Isabella of Valois. John IV, Duke of Brittany and his wife Joanna are there. Whilst mingling with the crowd they happen upon Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby and the current King's cousin with whom there is no love lost. Even though Joanna and John have a pleasant and companionable marriage, like the wedding taking place - she was an extremely young bride and there is a sizeable age difference between the couple, when she meets Henry a part of her awakens and she suddenly has feelings for him that she's never felt for a man before. 
She tries to put him and her feelings out of her mind and does not meet Henry again for another two years when he is accused of treason and bursts into their home in Brittany after being banished from England. The feelings she first developed come flooding back.
Henry later returns to England to launch an attack on Richard II, deposing him of his crown and becoming Henry IV, King of England. The Duke of Brittany has died with Joanna widowed and in control of her own lands. After what he deems a suitable period of time Henry sends a marriage proposal to Joanna who wants to accept but is warned that if she does she will lose everything: her land, her power, her fortune and her children. 
She makes the seemingly impossible decision and chooses the path of love and Henry, yet marriage and true love does not run smoothly and tensions quickly rise. Henry is filled with insecurities, and Joanna is a powerful and independent woman but untrusted as a French princess in the times when the relationship between England and France was not a happy one, a political gamble that they were trusting the unity would ease. It really highlights all the perils of the middle ages, and how different marriage was back then. 
I really enjoyed this offering from O'Brien. I have a keen interest in this period of time and I found the book historically accurate as well as being a beautifully written romance, focusing on the seldom heard of Joanna of Navarre. Living just around the corner from Bolingroke Castle also brought the book home to me.
This really is a must read for fans of historical fiction and a perfect tale to curl up and escape with.

I have a signed copy of The Queen's Choice up for grabs - Just leave a comment below to be entered into the draw! UK only please - winner will be chosen at random at 6pm 21st January 2016...

Many thanks to Sophie at ED PR for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. What a lovely, informative review Donna. This sounds like a real tale of true love but I'm sure there's much more to it than that! It really does sound like the kind of book you want to curl up with on these long winter evenings.

    1. Sure you'd love it, such an interesting book!
      Thanks, Amanda!

  2. Your reviews are always on the mark Donna.

    I loved Anne O'Brien's The Kings' Sister and would love to read The Queen's Choice! Please put my name in the hat. xx

    1. Thanks so much, Shaz - means a lot from you! Of course your name's in the hat! :)) xx

  3. Would love to read this, this is the period of history I find really interesting

    1. Same here too! Many thanks for your comment...shall add you to the hat!