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Queen of the North Reader Reviews

Queen of the North

Daran Bellingham

Anne O'Brien really knows her subject matter.

An excellent story set at the beginning of the Reign of Henry IV, a tale of Elizabeth Mortimer who believes that the only rightful heir to the throne after King Richard II demise is her eight year old nephew Edmund and not Henry of Lancaster.

Elizabeth is married into the Percy family who are the predominant leaders in the north and the borders of Scotland, her husband 'Hotspur' is killed in battle whilst trying to overthrow Henry.

Elizabeth is of Plantagenet blood, she is now on course to play them all to the end and will not stop until Edmund is on the throne.

Anne O'brien really knows her subject matter, this seems so historically correct and yet it is tale from these times, I want to read more of her work.

If you like Phillipa Gregory you will love this!

Christine Woolfenden

If you enjoy Phillipa Gregory and Alison Weir, then Anne O'Brien is definitely worth considering. A good storyteller of the more unknown periods of English history.

Queen of the North tells the story of a lesser known period of English history which is quite refreshing after all the books on The Tudors. It seemed to me to be a literary equivalent of a TV docu-drama at least for the first part. It is a story based on fact that is full of details of daily life as well as the more momentous events of the time. 

The story is told first person by Elizabeth Mortimer, someone I had not really heard of, although the men in her life are quite well known-Henry IV, Harry 'Hotspur' Percy, Owen Glyn Dwr and so on. 

The beginning of the book was quite challenging as we are given historical fact after fact, and I often had to re-read to get it set in my mind. It felt a bit like a history book full of facts and figures. However, once into the story it carried me along at a steady pace. As I knew the outcome of the events, it held no mystery for me, except for the last part when Elizabeth remarries. Not sure how accurate it is, but I found this part more engrossing as I really wanted to know what happened to her. On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be adding Anne O'Brien to my reading list.


Peter Baiden

The past is normally written from the stance of the men involved, hence 'history'. 'The Queen of the North', should be called 'herstory', a new way of revisiting the past..

Anne O'Brien catches the atmosphere of the start of 15th Century Britain, the 'Dark Ages' extremely well and ensures that her readers are totally engaged in the plot.

The Lords of the Northern regions of England are not always friendly towards the new King. When called to fight on the King's behalf, not all of them respond. This scenario would seem to be only suitable for one type of tale, fights, battles and intrigue, leaving the reader to 'take sides', but Ms O'Brien very cleverly gives us a different slant. Not for her the glories of war and the challenges of death, alone. 

She tells the story from the stance of Elizabeth Mortimer, who dreams of being the 'Queen of the North', the wife of Sir Henry Percy, (known as 'Hotspur') so we get a really human story that engaged this reader throughout.

Elizabeth is shown as a strong character who truly loves her husband and family, and supports him wholeheartedly, whilst he is engaged in dealing with the King, even in difficult times when they are not always 'friendly'.

With Hotspur away for most of the Summer, fighting, both on his own account and on behalf of the King, Elizabeth has to care for her family whilst maintaining their  'Kingdom', 

This is both a 'love story' and a 'tragedy', as we are engaged in an exploration of a relationship set against.

Jane Gilman

This is compulsive storytelling historical fiction to engage the emotions and get the blood racing.

Elizabeth Mortimer wife of Sir Henry Percy. Hotspur famously. Is a woman torn by family loyalties and a desire to protect her own children. Anne O'Brien brings this little known woman to light and skillfully blends a history lesson with engaging the reader with  the very human woman behind all the machinations of a medieval court. We feel Elizabeth's inner conflicts and grief when Hotspur is killed in battle. It is a relief when she is able to find a measure of happiness in closure.

Dana Captainino

It is well-researched and rich in its telling of a time of history perhaps less covered than others.

Queen of the North is a good read but without a list of characters to contextualise it trying to keep track of the different Henrys' and Harrys' is a distraction and frustration which made it take longer for me to get into it.

This is the story of Elizabeth Mortimer a strong woman married to Harry 'Hotspur' Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland. It is well-researched and rich in its telling of a time of history perhaps less covered than others. Set in the early 1400s when Richard II has just become king his cousin Elizabeth she is determined to fight the Mortimer cause and get young Edmund crowned king. She is ruthless in her pursuit of power and despite her tempestuous love for her husband is relentless. After his brutal death at the hands of the king her determination becomes greater as she mourns him. And so the story unfolds.

Not the best historical novel I have read but very well-researched.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008225414
Publication date: 31st May 2018
Author: Anne O'Brien, Nicola Cornick
Publisher: HQ an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 480 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, Exclusive Pre-Publication, Historical Fiction, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Historical fiction, Historical romance,