Mira Books, €12.99;
Historical fiction author Anne O’Brien, who has had international acclaim with her novels of Plantagenet heroines like Anne Neville, Katherine Swynford and Eleanor Aquitaine, returns with her latest heroine, Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt and sister to the future Henry IV.
This is the story of her love for Sir John Holland, Duke of Exeter and half-brother to King Richard II. In 1382, aged 19, she was married to 10-year-old John, Earl of Pembroke.
Frustrated, she falls for older man Holland, a charming, clever and ambitious courtier, who persuades her father to annul her first marriage so she can marry him. Their devotion is tested by the ongoing dramas, intrigue and treachery of the Court.
Set amid a fascinating period of history, this love story is epic. Elizabeth and John are self-centred and hard characters to like at first, but thanks to O’Brien’s expressive writing, the reader can empathise with them and the sacrifices they make. This book is flawlessly written and well researched.
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