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The Virgin Widow

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,759 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
A dazzling historical novel set during England's War of the Roses- the story of the courageous Anne Neville, future wife of Richard III, who comes of age in a time of chaos...

Anne Neville, daughter of the powerful Earl of Warwick, grows up during the War of the Roses, a time when kings and queens are made and destroyed in an on-going battle for the ultimate prize: the t
Paperback, 409 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by NAL (first published July 1st 2010)
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Ellen Ekstrom
Aug 04, 2012 Ellen Ekstrom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anne Neville is on my list of favorite queens - I prefer the outrageous and the neglected ones, hence Eleanor of Aquitaine and Anne Neville being way up there on the notepad. Anne O'Brien's story of the early life of Anne Neville (or Nevill), youngest daughter of celebrated earl Richard Neville of Warwick, aka "The Kingmaker," was refreshing, different and followed the historical timeline with artistic license. The histories are silent regarding Richard the Third's queen save that she was a poli ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Julia rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2011 Kathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess we should thank Phillpa Gregory for a revival in historical romance; if only the hangers on had her talent! I have read a slew of do-I -want- to- be-a bodice ripper-or-do-I-want-to-pretend-I-have-historical-value-novels.This one probably falls in the middle of the pack as far as readability and historical accuracy goes. I think the authors of this genre should pay attention to how the authors of historical mysteries (like Margaret Frazier and Paul Doherty) weave their fact and fiction.
Apr 06, 2016 Elizabeta rated it it was amazing
Great book, fast pace, never a dull moment.
Girls Gone Reading
As a fan of historical fiction, I was excited to read The Virgin Widow. I was even more excited to find out that it was a fast, fun read that was interesting throughout.

O’Brien lists Anne Neville as the “forgotten queen”, and although she might be forgotten she shouldn’t be.Traded back and forth like the perfect commodity, Anne was two times a queen. Posed on both sides of the War of the Roses, Anne was never able to choose a husband for herself. Instead, Anne made the only choice available to h
Miranda Lynn
DNF after 80 pages

Ugh. UGH.

So boring. I just couldn't make myself continue.

I got sucked in at the bookstore by the intriguing and so cliché title, but it just wasn't a very good book. After 80 pages, pretty much NOTHING had happened, and there wasn't even any good characterization or a tantalizing romance to keep me interested.

Oh well!
Marty :}
Jun 15, 2016 Marty :} rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"As for Richard - he is the light of my life. And I of his, so he says."
I have so much love for these two, they are my historical otp and there's so little known about their relationship. Richard III is very famous, he's the maligned king, but Anne Neville is known as 'the forgotten queen', which is very sad because I have the feeling that she was a very strong woman of the history. I want to start off by saying that I hate the Tudor propaganda and I believe Richard is not guitly of half the
Maria Grazia
As soon as Anne O'Brien talked to me of her first book on Anne Neville, VIRGIN WIDOW, while we were arranging her interview for my blog to present her second historical novel, Queen Defiant, I wished I could read it. After Sharon Key Penman's The Sunne in Splendour, and Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time , I wanted to know more about those events linked to the War of the Roses and to King Richard III's personal story. I was curious to see those known fac ...more
Teresa Gibson
Jan 17, 2011 Teresa Gibson rated it it was amazing
Richard III was SEXY!!! I completely enjoyed this fresh look at a much maligned person from history, no thanks to William Shakespeare. Anne O'Brien is a historian who thoroughly knows this time period (War of the Roses). As an American, I was somewhat unfamiliar with the history of the Houses of York and Lancaster and their struggles over the throne of England. But O'Brien's storytelling (although I realize that most scenes and all dialogue were fictionalized) help to breathe life into the histo ...more
Aug 01, 2010 Mieke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book; I find Anne Neville and her story fascinating. The book is a nice enough run-through of what little we *do* know about Anne, as well as her part in the Wars of the Roses, and I enjoyed it as a novel, but I didn't walk away loving it. I also found the "closure" a bit unsettling ~ after spending many many pages learning about Anne and coming to care for her, a one sentence "she died in ...." was a bit harsh!

And, also, the title is a bit misleading ~ the book cove
Meghann Andreassen
A stirring romance painted on a historical canvas of palace intrigue, ambition, deceit, and betrayal. Prepare to discover one of the world’s oft-overlooked heroines, who lived during England’s notorious Wars of the Roses. Daughter of The Kingmaker and beloved of the future King Richard III, Anne Neville’s voice will leave a powerful impact long after you turn the last page.

Anne O’Brien’s debut novel is nothing short of an impressive start to what could very possibly evolve into an illustrious wr
Three and a half stars

The Virgin Widow is a historical romance set during the war of the roses concerning Anne Neville, youngest daughter of the king maker, the Earl of Warwick. We are introduced to a young Anne, at the age of 6, and follow her journey through England and France, as well as, her father’s shifting alliances between the houses of York and Lancaster. Although very much a pawn in these royal intrigues, Anne demonstrates courage, strength and fortitude, as her life takes her from pri
Susan Wang
Despite the story being set in historical times, this is first and foremost a romance novel. The story is told through the voice of a very young Anne Neville, so all her idealizations of the various characters, in particular of Richard III, were justified, though rather unbelievable. The romance between Anne and Richard is extremely, well, romantic -- not a blemish of insincerity could be found. While the purity of this love is the one aspect of the book that compelled me to finish the book, I h ...more
Very little information comes to us about Anne Neville, queen to Richard III. Anne O'Brien has written an entirely fictitious account based on what little is known of her. Richard and Anne Neville fall in love in their youth but politics, war and ambition for power separate them. Her father wants power over the crown. Edward IV would reign on his own. Henry VI, imprisoned and insane has a bitter wife and egoistic son who also want the crown. Caught between all this intrigue, Anne becomes mainly ...more
This is an unashamedly romantic view of the life of Anne Neville, daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker. With the novel's focus being from Anne's childhood to her marriage with Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the writer leaves us with a happy ending, but brief notes at the end explain that Anne died aged 28/29, her only child predeceasing her, and of course, many readers would alreay know what became of her husband. The author's chosen timeline means that we never actually see Anne Neville become queen ...more
This book looked specifically at the relationship between Anne Neville and Richard, brother of King Edward. They were betrothed to each other as children, then the betrothal was broken and Anne was forced to marry Edward the Lancastrian prince. Edward was a cruel boy with a sickening relationship with his mother. Anne is left feeling lonely and unwanted in their marriage. When Anne and Richard are finally reunited, things are not as they were when the two left each other.

O'Brien's writing is ver
Jan 21, 2012 Starry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
This book had such a promising beginning that I was shocked by the difference in the quality of the writing once the characters arrived in France and in company of Margaret of Anjou and Edward of Lancaster. I don't deny the writer the right to depict these characters as abusive and volatile, but it is unfortunate that it could not be done in a more sophisticated way instead of in a histrionic and tawdry manner like an over sensationalised television soap opera. This is the kind of writing that u ...more
Aug 12, 2010 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this tale of Anne Neville, as it was a historical figure that hasn't been done to death, like many of the tudors. Therefore it was nice to learn some of the historical facts of the time.

The thought of being married off at 14 seems so foreign to us, and the lack of control of their lives that these women experienced is scary. To be at the whim of your father, brothers, husbands, sons and in some case kings was the way the world worked.

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Excellent, primordial, engaging...!
Feb 07, 2011 Kelly marked it as to-read
I want to read this, but all the books I read about Richard III invariably fall short of Sharon Kay Penman's Sunne in Splendour. THAT is the definitive portrait of RIII.
Rosanne Lortz
May 31, 2011 Rosanne Lortz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the story of Anne Neville, from the time Richard first entered her world when she was a young girl and he came to live and train under the tutelage of her father, through their betrothal and its eventual negation, through her exile from England and enforced marriage to a one-time enemy, to her return to England and battle for significance and even survival. It is an unlikely love story, but then those are often the best and most poignant. Perhaps because so little fact is known about thi ...more
Thea Wilson
Jan 17, 2014 Thea Wilson rated it really liked it
After reading a couple of Anne O'Brien's other works when the opportunity arose to get this one I jumped at it as I have thoroughly enjoyed her work before and this book is no exception, it's totally enjoyable!

In recent years there have been a few books about Anne Neville and her part in the War Of The Roses, most notable probably Philippa Gregory's The Kingmaker's Daughter, which I read and enjoyed too. I must admit that I actually prefer this version of the tale.

The book takes place in the per
“Virgin Widow” is the story of Anne Neville, Richard III's wife, even though the book ends before she becomes queen. This is a shame, but I can see why O'Brien decided not to go there: the book is mostly about the love story between Anne and Richard, and their last years were not very idyllic.

It is clear from the beginning that this is more a historical romance than a historical novel. The book is fluffy, there is no denying it. However, there are several interesting things happening which do no
Nov 13, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it
The Virgin Widow tells the typically unknown story of Anne Neville, one of the many cousins of the famous Plantagenet family, a British royal house whose descendants caused the famous Cousins' War -commonly known as the War of the Roses.

When readers first meet young Anne, she is fleeing with her family to France after her father, the Earl of Warwick, has been branded a traitor by King Edward of York, even though Anne's sister Isabel is married to Edward's older brother. As they near shore, Anne
Stephanie Tracy
Feb 22, 2013 Stephanie Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I literally could not put this book down. I won it in a historical blog Christmas giveaway and I am SO glad that I did! I knew absolutely nothing about Anne Neville or Richard III (other than all the hype surrounding him right now because of his remains recently being found and identified), so I was excited to read about them and delve into a period of history that I was unfamiliar with. While I usually stick to Tudor-era novels, this was foreign territory for me, but it absolutely opened up a n ...more
Rebecca Hill
Sep 23, 2012 Rebecca Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She was a wealthy heiress, in love with the friend from her childhood. The love story between Anne Neville and Richard Plantagenet always makes the reader feel as though they are living through the story themselves, and trying to envision the places and people that weave through this story.

When her father, the Earl of Warwick, declared war on the King of England, everything changed overnight. They were forced to leave their home in England and try to find refuge elsewhere. Anne Neville mourned
Aug 18, 2013 Dex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I did enjoy this book for the most part. There was quite a bit when it dragged on, and Richard's characterization bothered me a bit. It may have been joking, and I know it wasn't exactly unheard of or even uncommon at the time, but his promise that he wouldn't beat her stayed with me and just bothered me throughout. Despite that, it was good. Anne was a bit annoying at times, but I was mostly alright with her. The writing is alright if not a bit flowery.

The ending is what baffled me. To my k
Oct 28, 2012 Penny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I really enjoyed this book “Virgin Widow” by Anne O’Brien about Anne Neville the future Queen of Richard III. She came from a very wealthy family with close connections to the royal family. The only downside being her father the Earl of Warwick is a traitor to the crown and is hell bent on bringing down Edwards Yorkist crown!
As a young girl in 1469 living in a time when young men of position are fostered out to high ranking families to learn to be gentlemen and Squires, she falls in love with R
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 20, 2015 09:13AM  
ended too soon 2 21 Jan 29, 2012 07:10PM  
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  • Treason
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  • Lady of the English
  • The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Anne of York (Queens of England, #8)
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

My home is in the Welsh Marches, although much of my early life was spent in Yorkshire, most recently in the East Riding.Ann O'Brien The Marches is a remote region of England, surrounded by echoes from the past. Hereford is close with its famous Mappa Mundi and chained libr
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