Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The Forbidden Queen (Anne O'Brien)
One of my favorite stories in English history is the story of Katherine of Valois and Owen Tudor's marriage. So romantic, so unexpected, so honest.
But this book is not just about that particular story. This book is about Katherine of Valois, beginning from her neglected childhood in a French court ruled by a mad King and an absent Queen. Katherine is telling the reader her story, from her point of view, naive and foolish as it may have been at times. Katherine is heartbreakingly honest with both the reader and herself as she rises to become Queen of England to the great warrior King Henry V, the man she dreamed would be her hero and true love, but died before the dream could even be touched upon. Katherine is straight forward and remorseful as she tells the reader of her depression and melancholy after the death of Henry, and then angry when her lonely heart falls victim to the schemes of an ambitious courtier. Katherine is truthful, never sugar-coating her actions, even when she happens to accidentally fall deeply in love with her servant, Owen Tudor. Katherine makes no excuses for herself as she grasps for the happiness that she has always sought, fighting tooth and nail with council and country for what she believes her family deserves.
Anne O'Brien has written a beautiful, bittersweet novel. This story deserved to be told, in exactly this manner. Katherine's story, on Katherine's terms. Highly Recommended.