Andrea Guy's Reviews > The King's Concubine: A Novel of Alice Perrers

The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien
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's review
Jul 04, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads, ebook, netgalley, royals, historical-fiction
Read in July, 2012

Stories about the mistresses of Kings have always intrigued me. This story was made even more so because I had just read The King Must Die, which was about Edward's mother and his early years on the throne.

Not much is known about Alice Perrers, other than she served as a Lady in Waiting to Queen Phillipa and that she became the King's Mistress. Oh and she was intensely disliked by most people.

I think the why's of that dislike are pretty obvious.

Edward and Phillipa had a very good marriage as far as royalty is concerned. Yes, they loved each other. That's what makes the way O'Brien brings King and Lady together a little bit hard to take. Anne suggests that Alice became Edward's lover because the Queen wanted her too, because her illness prevented her from enjoying the marriage bed any longer.


I'm not sure if that idea works well with me, but somehow Alice, who was obviously low born, made it to the inner circles of the monarchy. Lowborn though she was, she was also, oddly for that time, a very astute businesswomen.

This book does a lot to cast a more favorable light on Alice, mostly in the fact that she harbors some love for Edward, but I'm not sure if she deserved the light to be cast on her. Let's face it, she was greedy and power hungry. She managed to accumulate 50 manors during her time as the King's Mistress, and she even managed to get them back after a corruption trial. (She could have lost her life there, but she managed too to talk her way out of it)

I think if one thing can be said for Alice Perrers, it is that she was a woman hundreds of years before her time. In truth, I couldn't like Alice as I read this book. I could admire her though, because she rose from the ashes and for a time, ruled a kingdom.
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04/17/2017 marked as: read

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