Saturday 17 August 2019

Hist Fic Saturday ~ A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O'Brien

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to...1399

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22 August 2019

My thanks to the author for my proof copy of this book

Her actions could make history – but at what price?

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV. Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her. Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

What did I think about it..

The richness of A Tapestry of Treason is as sumptuous as anything that ever graced the walls of a medieval castle. Lovingly stitched by an author who continues to bring fascinating life to the forgotten women of our history. 

Constance of York was born into a vainglorious and deeply ambitious family whose familial connection to Edward III places them close enough to royalty to always be a threat. It is their unwavering allegiance to Richard II which will prove to be disastrous when in 1399 their cousin Henry IV usurps Richard’s crown inciting the York’s do all they can to restore Richard back to power.

A clever blending of fact and fiction brings the mercurial medieval court of Henry IV to life. Filled with political intrigue and deadly ambition, Constance discovers that despite her cunning and formidable ability she is always at the mercy of men who would exploit and deceive her. Despite an uneasy marriage to Thomas, Lord Despenser, Constance is never far from political intrigue and her uncompromising personality and her capacity to be drawn into scandal is what makes this account of her life such a fascinating read. That Constance is a worthy heroine is in no doubt, her life reads like a modern day reality show, and yet, by the end of the novel I couldn't help but have enormous respect for the trials she endured during her life in which her undoubted charisma, tenacity and sheer strength of will are tested to the absolute limits.

Beautifully written and impeccably researched, A Tapestry of Treason is another absolute triumph of a novel from an author who allows us, with her clever words and vivid imagery, to experience life in medieval England. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those strong and decisive women who forged our history, not armed with crossbows on the battlefields of Europe, but who, in draughty anterooms and dusty solar, could be found cleverly plotting and deftly weaving together the tapestry threads of  conspiracy, intrigue and deadly danger.

 A Tapestry of Treason is published in hardback and ebook on the 22nd August by HQ and is available to pre-order

by kind permission of the author

In 2019 Anne O'Brien celebrates ten years of giving voice to the forgotten women of history

Anne O'Brien was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in history at Manchester University and a Master's in Education at Hull, she lived in the East Riding for many years as a teacher of history.

She now lives with her husband in an eighteenth century timber framed cottage in the depths of the welsh marches in Hertfordshire the borders between England and Wales.

Twitter @anne_obrien #ATapestryofTreason

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