The King's Concubine

PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF ANNE O’BRIEN

The King’s Concubine

“The King’s Concubine is a delicious and satisfying Cinderella story, following the rise of Alice Perrers from powerless naivety to the pinnacle of the realm as the mistress of Edward III. Anne O’Brien brings Alice’s story to life with vivid details and glorious writing that will please any fan of historical fiction.”

—Gillian Bagwell, author of The September Queen

Queen Defiant

Queen Defiant lives up to its title as Anne O’Brien, with sensual lyricism, gifts readers with the lesser-known story of Eleanor of Aquitaine before Henry Plantagenet swept her away to immortality. Married to the monk-king of France, Louis II, Eleanor fights Louis, the Church, and the French nobility to go on crusade to Jerusalem, where she finds unexpected sexual fulfillment before a much younger Henry pursues and wins her to an even greater love. We are more familiar with her tumultuous story as England’s great queen, but O’Brien brings us the equally fascinating tale of Eleanor’s little-known earlier years, the years that gave her an enduring defiance and strength that she would need for the rest of her life.”

—Jeane Westin, author of His Last Letter and The Virgin’s Daughters

“Passionate and romantic…Queen Defiant is another fascinating look at the early life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. O’Brien’s Eleanor is a fine tribute to the woman that she was historically: complex, ambitious, intelligent, and alluring. Eleanor of Aquitaine would be proud.”

—Examiner.com (Pittsburgh)

“Eleanor is the picture of defiance, and her bold, fiery voice is the strongest asset of this successful historical.”

Publishers Weekly

“The reader is taken on a roller-coaster ride through Eleanor’s emotions and her story, and you just cannot help but fall in love with this passionate heroine.…O’Brien brings Eleanor, Louis, Henry, Aquitaine, and Paris to life with her writing, and it is a gripping story [that] the reader will find hard to put down.…This is a wonderful romp through Eleanor’s life.”

—The Anne Boleyn Files

“Anne O’Brien provides a fresh perspective [on Eleanor’s life]…engaging.”

—Genre Go Round Reviews

The Virgin Widow

“Packed with royal intrigue and stunning reversals of fortune, The Virgin Widow is a thrilling romance drawn from history, beautifully told. Anne O’Brien’s spirited and courageous heroine, Lady Anne Neville, a traitor’s daughter and future Queen of England, vividly narrates her incredible journey through treachery and heartbreak into the arms of the man she loves—the last Plantagenet King of England, Richard III.”

—Sandra Worth, award-winning author of Pale Rose of England

“O’Brien pulls us by our heartstrings through the power struggles between the House of York and Lancaster, telling the story through the seemingly hopeless love of Anne Neville for the man who would become Richard III…a little-known story that you will never forget.”

—Jeane Westin

The Virgin Widow is a novel so engrossing that I couldn’t put it down. Anne Neville comes to full and glorious life on these pages—a courageous woman of her own time, timeless in her appeal to readers.”

—Kate Emerson, author of Secrets of the Tudor Court: At the King’s Pleasure

“Anne O’Brien’s The Virgin Widow takes the reader on a compelling journey through medieval history and the heart of Anne Neville, a pawn and power in Plantagenet England. The vibrant characters, especially the narrator heroine, leap off the page. O’Brien weaves love, lust, tragedy, and triumph into a rich historical tapestry to treasure.”

—Karen Harper, national bestselling author of Mistress Shakespeare and The Irish Princess

The Virgin Widow is the finest portrayal of Anne Neville in historical fiction. It gives a flattering portrayal of Anne, a historically accurate view of this tumultuous time in England, and great romance and drama. O’Brien’s first venture into novels on historical figures gets two thumbs up.”

—Examiner.com (Pittsburgh), included in the Best Ten Historical Novels of 2010

“O’Brien has excellent control over the historical material and a rich sense of characterization, making for a fascinating and surprisingly female-focused look at one of the most turbulent periods of English history.”

Publishers Weekly

“A strong tale filled with intrigue, a deep understanding of historical events, and a far more sympathetic portrait of Richard III than Shakespeare’s that will fascinate readers.”

Romantic Times

“If you need a good book for holiday reading or for relaxing with in the garden on a sunny day, you just cannot go wrong with this one. All of the right ingredients: romance, intrigue, betrayal, glamour, history, murder…brilliant!”

—The Anne Boleyn Files

“With this winning novel, Anne O’Brien has joined the exclusive club of excellent historical novelists.”

Sunday Express (UK)

Other Novels by Anne O’Brien

Queen Defiant

The Virgin Widow

THE KING’S

CONCUBINE

A NOVEL OF ALICE PERRERS

Anne O’Brien

NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY

NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY

Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First American Printing, June 2012

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

Copyright © Anne O’Brien, 2012

Readers Guide copyright © Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

O’Brien, Anne, 1949–

   The king’s concubine: a novel of Alice Perrers/Anne O’Brien.

      p. cm

   ISBN: 978-1-101-58667-9

   1. Perrers, Alice, ca. 1348–1400—Fiction. 2. Ladies-in-waiting—Great Britain—Fiction. 3. Edward III, King of England, 1312–1377—Fiction. 4. Great Britain—Kings and rulers—Paramours—Fiction. 5. Mistresses—Great Britain—Fiction. I. Title.

   PR6115.B7355K56 2012

   823’.92—dc23            2011048198

Set in Simoncini Garamond

Designed by Alissa Amell

Printed in the United States of America

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

   The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

For George,

who managed to live comfortably for a year with both me and Alice Perrers. As ever, with love and thanks.

Acknowledgments

All my thanks:

To my agent Jane Judd, who appreciated the possibility of Alice Perrers as an unconventional heroine. Her advice and support, as always, are beyond price.

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