Gripping The Times Her Actions Could Make History But At What Price Constance Of York, Lady Despenser, Proves Herself Than A Mere Observer In The Devious Intrigues Of Her Magnificently Dysfunctional Family, The House Of YorkSurrounded By Power Hungry Men, Including Her Aggressively Self Centred Husband Thomas And Ruthless Siblings Edward And Richard, Constance Places Herself At The Heart Of Two Treasonous Plots Against King Henry IV Will It Be Possible For This Plantagenet Family To Safeguard Its Own Political Power By Restoring Either King Richard II To The Throne, Or The Precarious Mortimer Claimant Although The Execution Of These Conspiracies Will Place Them All In Jeopardy, Constance Is Not Deterred, Even When The Cost Of Her Ambition Threatens To Overwhelm Her Even When It Endangers Her New Found HappinessWith Treason, Tragedy, Heartbreak And Betrayal, This Is The Story Of A Woman Ahead Of Her Time, Fighting For Herself And What She Believes To Be Right In A World Of MenGiving Voice To The Forgotten Women Of History, This Is The Next Brilliant Historical Novel From Sunday Times Bestselling Author Anne O BrienPraise For A Tapestry Of Treason A Wonderful Novel A Rich, Gripping, Enchanting Read Anne S Vivid Writing Took Me Straight To The Year And Kept Me Wonderfully Lost There Throughout Joanna CourtneyPraise For Anne O Brien O Brien Cleverly Intertwines The Personal And Political In This Enjoyable, Gripping Tale The Times O Brien Is A Terrific Storyteller Daily Telegraph A Gripping Story Of Love, Heartache And Political Intrigue Woman Home Packed With Drama, Danger, Romance And History The Perfect Reading Choice For The Long Winter Nights The Press Association A Gripping Historical Drama Bella I can totally see why Anne O Brian is universally loved, the historical detail is certainly second to none However, for me, the book just did not quite work I expected flair, I think and of the character of Constance, she only really came fully alive to me when her heart was broken in the end and considering that was the part where the author had to make up a lot because no one quite knows what happens, I think it is fair to say, that I personally like my historical fiction with creative license. A Tapestry of Treason begins with an attempt to foretell the future, and I found myself trying to recall what I knew of the actual events of the time Although I know a great deal about King Henry V, I knew less about how his father claimed the throne and little of the story of Constance of York, Countess Despenser.Anne O Brien uses first person narrative to take us deep within the troubling world of this amazing woman It took me a little while to warm to Constance s often cynical view of those around her A deeply flawed character, it s hard not to judge her against modern standards until we learn why she behave as she does.Evocative and captivating, this wonderfully researched book is a good example of why we need historical fiction to fill in the gaps of the historical record On the face of it, Constance deserves everything she gets and loses , yet we feel her frustration of having to watch from the sidelines of what is very much a man s world.I particularly liked the used of the tapestry of the title to provide threads of gold and silk which run through the narrative, reminding us that, even in the hardest times, this is a world of royal privilege.This is the tenth historical fiction novel from Anne O Brien I have read them all, and in my view this is the best so far Highly recommended.Tony Riches Stunning A Tapestry of Treason is a stunning novel The character of Lady Constance is a revelation she is perhaps the most complicated of Anne O Brien s historical women to date, and the book delightfully fluctuates between the conspiracies and treasons that she s involved in, even though she is, but a woman in a man s world How she survived the king s wrath on so many occasions is a bit of a miracle.In the end, I was completely hooked on the novel, and just read the last 40% or so in one sitting, in heightened anxiety from each high to each new low Lady Constance certainly wins the heart of the reader, even if she herself would never admit to even having a heart.I believe this is the best of Anne O Brien s books to date.Thank you to the Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy I would certainly have read it anyway and I m just delighted I got to read it so far in advance of being released. This is such a fabulous read If you enjoy historical fiction about lesser known characters, you ll love Tapestry of Treason I hadn t heard of Constance of York, Lady Despenser, before reading this book, so found myself quite captivated by her story I think the author has done a brilliant job of bringing Constance to life, really getting inside her head by way of a first person type of narrative What a feisty, determined and ambitious lady she was Plotting against King Henry IV being just part of Constance s life s rich tapestry She s a great advert for the old adage if at first you don t succeed, try, try and try again It s beautifully written and cleverly woven Superbly researched, Constance s story is interesting, gripping and fascinating, as well as being educational I can thoroughly recommend it. 1399 Constance of York, Lady Dispenser, granddaughter of Edward III proves herself than just an observer in the political manoeuvring of her gloriously dysfuctional family The House of York.Constance is surrounded by power hungry men, in the form of her brothers and husband, who are hell bent on ensuring that they remain powerful figures behind the throne whichever of their cousins happen to be on the throne at the time.When we first meet Constance, her cousin Richard II son of Edward The Black Prince, Edward III s eldest son is on the throne Richard II is the rightful heir in the eyes of the law, but he has made powerful enemies during his reign especially his cousin Henry son of John of Gaunt, Edward III s third son , who has been exiled by Richard.When Richard II goes off to quell unrest in Ireland, Henry takes his chance to seize power Richard s delay in returning to England, whether by accident or design, leads to him being taken prisoner by Henry s forces and a peace is brokered by Constance s father, Edmund, Duke of York, which ushers in a new ruler.Richard is persuaded to abdicate in favour of his cousin Henry and a new king Henry IV takes power.Although Constance s father has helped bring in the new reign, her family were firm favourites with Richard II and they are concerned about the looming prospect of loss of the power and titles they have gained While her elder brother Edward does his best to inveigle himself into Henry s good graces, peace and harmony are only a facade They are unhappy about the way Richard has been deposed and treason lies in their hearts.The execution of their conspiracies will place them all in danger and Constance is at the very heart of their treason, even though her plans may endanger her own happiness Constance is a woman ahead of her time, fighting for recognition in a world ruled by men.This is a story of treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayalI love, love, love historical fiction and cannot believe that I have not read one of Anne O Brien s books before now I was completely transported back in time by this splendid book and found it utterly absorbing.A Tapestry of Treason will introduce you to the very beginning of the rivalry between the Houses of York and Lancaster Constance s own father was made the first Duke of York, and Henry IV s father John of Gaunt was similarly the first Duke of Lancaster both created by their own father, Edward III And so began a conflict that led to discord and bloodshed through the years, until the House of Tudor was finally established by Henry VII in 1485.This book will give you a sumptuous and finely woven glimpse into the political machinations that defined this period of history a tapestry of treason, inter worked with the golden threads of ambition, secret plotting and murder What makes this book so special is that it is told from the point of view of a very unusual woman, in the form of Constance of York.This is a time when well born women are used as pawns in the game of power married against their will to a husband who offers the most advantageous political alliance, or financial gain, to their own family.Constance is at the very heart of the treasonous plans of her brother and husband, but she is confined to the role of daughter, sister, wife and mother by a society that holds women as mere chattels of their menfolk, and she does not sit well in this role indeed it could be said that she has brains and guile than all the men of her family put together Constance certainly has loyalty to the course of action they all set in motion, to her desperate cost.Constance is certainly a difficult character to love she has been brought up without feeling affection from either of her parents, or the husband she was married to at the age of four She views things dispassionately and it is difficult to warm to her, at first History certainly paints a very dark picture of her character, but this book will cause you to reassess how she has been portrayed, especially in the latter parts of her story.Anne O Brien skillfully catches you up in Constance s life and you soon begin to feel empathy with a woman whose fortunes are at the whim of the men surrounding her She firmly believes she is doing what is best for her family, even if this means precipitating some very dark deeds.There are some heartbreaking storms ahead for Constance to weather and I became quite angry and upset at the betrayals she experiences from not only the King she feels has gone against God s ordinance, but her own family, and the man she loves too These were not easy times to be a woman and Constance is poorly used by the men she is close to in their complicated games of power.I thoroughly enjoyed my look into the life of Constance of York and learnt a lot about the events surrounding the origins of the great rivalry between the Houses of York and Lancaster Anne O Brien has brought the past to life in A Tapestry of Treason by cleverly entwining the personal story of Constance with the political events of the time and this is a cracking historical novel. The richness of A Tapestry of Treason is as sumptuous as anything that ever graced the walls of a medieval castle Lovingly stitched by an author who continues to bring fascinating life to the forgotten women of our history Constance of York was born into a vainglorious and deeply ambitious family whose familial connection to Edward III places them close enough to royalty to always be a threat It is their unwavering allegiance to Richard II which will prove to be disastrous when in 1399 their cousin Henry IV usurps Richard s crown inciting the York s do all they can to restore Richard back to power.A clever blending of fact and fiction brings the mercurial medieval court of Henry IV to life Filled with political intrigue and deadly ambition, Constance discovers that despite her cunning and formidable ability she is always at the mercy of men who would exploit and deceive her Despite an uneasy marriage to Thomas, Lord Despenser, Constance is never far from political intrigue and her uncompromising personality and her capacity to be drawn into scandal is what makes this account of her life such a fascinating read That Constance is a worthy heroine is in no doubt, her life reads like a modern day reality show, and yet, by the end of the novel I couldn t help but have enormous respect for the trials she endured during her life in which her undoubted charisma, tenacity and sheer strength of will are tested to the absolute limits.Beautifully written and impeccably researched, A Tapestry of Treason is another absolute triumph of a novel from an author who allows us, with her clever words and vivid imagery, to experience life in medieval England We stand shoulder to shoulder with those strong and decisive women who forged our history, not armed with crossbows on the battlefields of Europe, but who, in draughty anterooms and dusty solar, could be found cleverly plotting and deftly weaving together the tapestry threads of conspiracy, intrigue and deadly danger. Five stars A wonderful read Such an historical story brought to life with delicious narrative woven into events surrounding Richard II, Henry IV and political events subsuming the Royal Court and politics of the time Beautiful imagery, realistic dialogue, excellent narration It was great to read this on the Pigeonhole app along with other pigeon readers and the author Anne O Brien, answering our questions and giving us pointers in history I read each chapter with anticipation for the next, it s certainly a page turner Anne O Brien gives Constance, as narrator an applied force lending a richness to the story, I ve rarely seen in other history books Anne O Brien creates treachery, love, fear, excitement, awe, in this rich historical story bringing it to life as played out on a stage This storyline is indeed a captivating one. What an interesting character in Constance of York A truly strong woman in a man s world plotting intrigue and treasonous plots, totally loyal to her dysfunctional family even when they betray her I didn t know much about the history leading up to the War of the Roses, this makes me want to know A fabulous story full of twists and turns. When two overcomes three, all is lost But it doesn t really mean anything Dice cannot possibly predict the future It was just the confused ramblings of a cheap fortune teller No, there was nothing to be concerned about Nothing at all The House of York had it all, power, land, and the ear of the King What could possibly go wrong Power, when one has tasted it, is very difficult to relinquish Constance of York, Lady Despenser, and her family rose to the greatest of heights under the reign of Richard II But Richard s throne has been stolen by that undeserving usurper, Henry Bolingbroke, 2nd Duke of Lancaster.The fate of the House of York now rests in Henry s hands Many of the nobles would love to see the House of York stripped of all her power, and her lands given to those who are deserving When two overcomes three This cannot be allowed to happen Constance will not let it happen They will grovel if they have to, pledge allegiance to the new Lancastrian King if that will secure their immediate future But, once a York always a York United, the House of York is a formidable foe, and they will topple that usurper from his throne one way or another.However, Henry is no boy at his books If the House of York wants to pick a fight, then he will be ready for them All of them Even Constance.From lofty heights to the pits of despair, A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O Brien is the unforgettable story of Constance of York, Lady Despenser.While other royal ladies sat with their embroidery, Constance plotted her revenge Born to power, she was not a woman who would be happy playing the subservient cousin to Henry IV Initially, I found it very difficult to like Constance She is a manipulative and cruel woman She thinks of nothing other than power, position and of course, wealth Constance claims to be for York, but she is for herself than any cause Constance breathes sedition That is how history records her life, and that is how O Brien introduces her Constance is a devious woman She has a heart so black that no amount of light could ever penetrate her soul But, and this is what I love about O Brien s books, Constance is not a one dimensional villain in this tale, far from it As the story progresses, O Brien weaves a somewhat different and unexplored Constance to the one that history paints so darkly, and it is this Constance that I found myself weeping for.Told from Constance s perspective, O Brien explores what it was like to be a woman during a time of great upheaval and political change, and what was to be the prelude to the War of the Roses Constance is a very strong, driven character, but there is another story to her tale, and this was what made this interpretation of Constance so wonderfully enthralling Love, hate, birth, death, what an incredible story that those who penned history has hidden from us O Brien has very carefully put the jigsaw of Constance s life back together, and with a few educated guesses, she has presented her readers with a story that is tautly gripping and so exceedingly engaging The hours seemed to fly by as I lost myself in this book I became enthralled in Constance s life, the people she loves, and the terrible betrayal that she endures by the hand of one of her closest relatives The death of her husband and her child, and again another betrayal, but this time by a man she loved with every fibre of her being, made her story unforgettable This is not a happy story, for how can it be when her life was anything but O Brien has captured the very essence of what life may well have been like in the court of Henry IV Henry knows that he needs to be lenient when dealing with his enemies Henry is incredibly forgiving to his York cousins O Brien has portrayed Henry as a just king However, Henry is very much aware that those who profess their undying loyalty one minute would stab him in the back the next O Brien has certainly portrayed Henry s court as a pit of vipers Constance and her Yorkist kin for all their pedigree, are the venom in the snake s bite Henry is well aware that they could bring him down if he dares lower his guard for even one moment.There are many men in Constance s life The treatment of Constance by her brother, Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, is, on the face of it, appalling Edward is seemingly concerned about his own neck than his sister s, but I could not help but wonder if he knew that Constance was likely to come away with her life, than he would if he confessed to the charges laid before him Was Edward a shrewd politician, or a coward I am not sure Whatever he was, he certainly knew how to play this Medieval Game of Thrones to his advantage.There is one other secondary character that has to be mentioned, and that is Edmund Holland, 4th Earl of Kent Edmund was something of a paradox I don t think I have ever adored and disliked a character quite so much as Edmund I thought he was wonderfully portrayed He and Constance are the victims of their time And their story was particularly heartrending.The historical detailing of this book has to be commended O Brien has brought Lancastrian England back to life The history is so rich in the telling and so very vibrant O Brien is a master at writing compelling Historical Fiction.A Tapestry of Treason was everything I hoped it would be and then some It is undoubtedly a very emotional story, so do keep a box of Kleenex handy if you are of a tearful disposition I Highly Recommended.Review by Mary Anne Yarde.The Coffee Pot Book Club. Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.This book is set during a really rather fascinating period of British History, the period which formed the bedrock of the later War of the Roses The year is 1399 and Constance of York, Lady Despenser, King Richard s cousin decides to stir the decidedly risky pot of courtly intrigue The real Constance was a fascinating woman and the author has done a great job of bringing her back to life in this novel Her active involvement in the plots against Henry IV despite women s lack of political power or autonomy during this period automatically makes her a fascinating character I love morally grey female characters so enjoyed getting an insight into her mind and character This book is exhaustively researched and bursting with historical detail This unfortunately sometimes comes at expense of the plot and pace A wealth of detail is not necessarily a bad thing, but this novel is marketed as a thrilling tale of treason, love and betrayal but I found the pace to be quite plodding at some points, particularly the beginning The story takes a while to get going and the complexity of the interconnected character relationships made it tough going at first damn those 14th century nobles who repeatedly used a small number of names , I found myself constantly looking up Constance s family tree online to remind myself who everyone was Constance s personality and inner thoughts really shine through but I don t feel the other characters really made much of an impression on me and they all felt a bit flat.Overall, an expertly researched historical fiction novel that didn t quite do it for me.
- 512 pages
- A Tapestry of Treason
- Anne O'Brien
- 26 November 2017 Anne O'Brien