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The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  28 reviews
England, 1441:

Lady Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, hopes to become Queen of England before her interest in astrology and her husband’s ambition leads their enemies to accuse her of a plot against the king. Eleanor is found guilty of sorcery and witchcraft. Rather than have her executed, King Henry VI orders Eleanor to be imprisoned for life.

More than a century aft
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 3rd 2014 by WWD (first published November 2nd 2014)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Riches creates a narrative in diary format which connects the reader to the character providing a unmistakable level of palpable intimacy. Eleanor Cobham an ambiguous and unregarded personality from history reveals her life via a tell all diary. The reader will travel from past to present as Eleanor discloses all, holding nothing back. Perhaps the diary format or Eleanor herself in her vulnerable and raw state manages to miraculously evoke empathy from the reader, exact cause undermined but empa ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read. Due to it's diary format it's not overly gripping or fast-paced, as Eleanor is looking back over her life from captivity, however it is informative and detailed when it comes to her relationship with Duke Humphrey and the war in France. Eleanor also details the marriage of Humphrey to his former wife, Jacqueline of Hainault, when she was lady-in-waiting to Jacqueline (ironic). Therefore the reader was given a good sense of who Humphrey was as a person and not just E ...more
☽ Su ☾
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
a great read ♥
The story is told in first person, as a secret diary telling the story of Eleanor Cobham's life and then her fall and imprisonment due to false accusations of sorcery and necromancy.

I highly recommend this one.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham tells the story of a woman who rose almost to be Queen of England before she fell spectacularly and thoroughly. Historical facts are not treated as spoilers.

As lady-in-waiting to Jacqueline of Hainault, Eleanor came under the radar of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester and uncle of Henry VI. First as his mistress and later as his wife, Eleanor demonstrates that she lacks the political skills to survive in the power struggle that was gearing up for all out
Elizabeth Lloyd
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester was unknown to me until I began to read this book, but she features in Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, and was a significant historical character.

Written in the first person as a secret coded diary we soon learn that Eleanor is imprisoned in Beaumaris Castle on the island of Anglesey, her fourth prison over nearly 10 years. Although I sympathised with her plight I was interested in how she would explain her circumstances.

After the death of her mot
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham is perhaps best summed up as being limited by its chosen format. It’s hard to make a diary work successfully as a novel. For a start, the tension is undercut by the fact that the reader knows that the “author” has to have survived to write down what’s happened, and the real author has to write spectacularly enough for the reader to overlook that.

Tony Riches, sadly, doesn’t, and he undercuts the tension even more by having the diary being written during El
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
loved this story even though i had read other stories about eleanor cobham i found this one was more original i love reading about the histories of england in this story it shows how people reacted to "witch craft" in honesty it was that they did not believe when people used herbs especially to help heal or treat a specific condition it also shows just how the church had so much influence in one sense it is almost as if they ruled without having a is interesting to read about king henr ...more
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I admire my ancestors—they survived.
Mr. Riches tells the story of Eleanor Cobham, wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and brother of King Henry VI. Eleanor is mistress then wife of Humphrey who is not popular with the powers that be behind the king.
Eleanor ends up accused of witchcraft and sorcery, and she is divorced from her husband on these charges. After Eleanor’s arrest, we hear nothing of her husband.
This is a very interesting
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Quick read. Compelling and interesting character but alas, Mr. Riches is not a gifted story teller. Nevertheless, I will probably read another of his books because I like his choice of characters.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read

I never heard of this lady before finding the book but I'm thrilled I did. Great story, well written, engrossing.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham, by Tony Riches #RBRT

I would like to thank Tony for sending me copy to read and review as i am now part of Rosie Amber's book review team

The blurb

England, 1441:

Lady Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, hopes to become Queen of England before her interest in astrology and her husband’s ambition leads their enemies to accuse her of a plot against the king. Eleanor is found guilty of sorcery and witchcraft. Rather than have her executed, King Henry VI orders
Christine Cazeneuve
I did enjoy this story very much. I knew nothing of Eleanor Cobham so this was a new jorney for me. The book is written just as is stated in the title - its a diary. Eleanor goes back and forth between telling her story of how she came to be imprisoned for her life accused of witchcraft and her present life of living out her prison sentence. It by no means gets confusing - well written in every sense.

I loved the way the author, at least for me, had me conflicted with my feelings abou
K.M. Pohlkamp
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm usually skeptical of first person narration by an author of the opposite gender, but Riches' writing is perfection. I'm in awe of how he was able to enter the mind of Eleanor Cobham in this creative way to recount history. I was not previously aware of Eleanor's story and Riches masterfully weaves historical research and facts into the plot.

Written in a diary format, the constant jumps in time were a little jarring but also provided for successful foreshadowing that kept the book
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I was not a witch but they have made me one."

A simply constructed novel, told in the first person by the imprisoned Duchess of Gloucester at the end of her life. I found the writing and tale itself to be marvelously absorbing: Tony Riches blends Lady Eleanor's rise and fall with her faulty, yet relatable character traits and brings about historical fiction magic.
Hazel Waite
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I loved this book more than any other. Tough times but so well written you almost feel you are there.
Kay S. Holden
I found this book to be repetitive in the storyline.

It was a slow read at times. I didn't feel the urgency to return to this read that I had with Tony's previous books.
Carole O'Brien
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I really enjoyed reading this book.
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
Royal Court to Royal Clink... Wow what a fascinating story! It's hard enough for me to keep up with all of the Presidents of the United States much less all of the Dukes and Duchesses, Earls, Viscounts and all of the other royals that graced the peerage of England and other countries through the years so I honestly wasn't familiar with Eleanor Cobham's story going into this. What little I did know about her came from the couple minutes of Wikipedia and Internet research I did before reading. Bas ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Slow and not very entertaining. To get to know Eleanor Cobham-better read Juliet Dymoke books.
A more realistic, postive and alive depiction of people of the era.
Beverley Newman
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting perspective

I've long been aware of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester and was keen to learn more. This novel has definitely helped me to do so. It tells the story of Eleanor's life, but gives the reader the opportunity to decide whether she deserved leniency or the degree of censure she received.
It also gives further insights into the power plays going on during the early years of Henry VI's majority, between Church and State to obtain control of the King.
In an interesting
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a great book....

I have to say, I did not expect this book to be that good . The author, Tony Riches did an amazing job. Very easy to read, very easy to comprehend, and very easy to understand. I love that this author takes real facts and puts them into a story. I really love reading his books!! I would recommend this book to everyone!!

To The Author- if you read this review, You have an amazing gift for taking history and making me , the reader feel for the characters!! I read a lot o
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If only!

This is a tale from the pen of a writer with a great imagination, based on fact both of characters and places. As a History graduate I know that such a discovery as a secret diary would be the equivalent of handling the crown jewels to anyone dreaming of that PhD! A more down to earth review says that I enjoyed this romp through Britain seen through the eyes of one who had a huge fall from grace, brought about by her own actions. Enjoyable and imaginative.
LINDA Rowland
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely Read

This. Book keep me guessing to the end was she release or did she die as prisoner ? And then when I read the author notes that her daughter was related to his wife family it bought all the.
Characters to life
I would recommend this book to any one who love reading about English history and to think that I was

Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
An interesting read but I didn't care for the writing style. Eleanor Cobham tells the whole story from her last place of confinement, an uninhabited castle off the coast of Wales. There is virtually no dialogue. I'd never heard of her and so found her story intriguing but it was very hard to follow in the beginning.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I real enjoyed this book! It was well written, engaging characters, and so interesting I read it in one sitting.
I am really digging TONY RICHES. I saw him and his books mentioned often on twitter and decided to give one a try, and ever since that first book I have not been disappointed.
I highly recommend this author to fans of historical fiction, and to people who just like a very good book.
diane moroney
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good read

I feel that this book is very close to history and the times and events have been accurately portrayed. Eleanor is brought to life as an ambitious and proud young woman. The author carefully considers her emotions and opinions in very turbulent times.
Lucy Branch
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A pleasure to read. This was a period of history I knew little about. The book was extremely well researched and took me there
Julia Finnegan
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New life to a little known person

I love when new life is given to a person that time forgot. This story definitely does that. Enjoyed this read immensely.
David Copping
rated it liked it
Mar 18, 2019
rated it really liked it
Oct 26, 2019
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Aug 31, 2015 09:40AM  
GOOD REVIEWS: Reviewers neeeded 1 23 Nov 12, 2014 06:55AM  

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Tony Riches is a full-time author from Pembrokeshire, West Wales, an area full of inspiration for his writing.

Best known for his Tudor Trilogy, Tony's other international best sellers include 'Mary - Tudor Princess, 'Brandon - Tudor Knight' and 'Katherine - Tudor Duchess'.

In his spare time Tony enjoys sailing and sea kayaking. Visit Tony's website at, Tony Riches Author on Facebook and follow hi
“Autumn is the time of balance and of
sacrifice, a time when the light is defeated by darkness, a time
when night takes over and brings the coming winter. The
ancient wisdom says that those who long for light must face
their inner darkness and overcome it.”
More quotes…