The Importance of Wives

Chronicles of the House of Valois

Fiction - Historical - Personage
381 Pages
Reviewed on 04/01/2024
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Author Biography

As a kid Keira was a bookworm. It was then that she discovered the Renaissance as a wonderful place of queens, princesses, and castles. She studied the period at university and realized that life for those same queens and princesses in their castles wasn’t nearly as romantic as she had dreamed, but it was much more fascinating. The clothing, the food, the way people travelled, how they lived, how they brought up their children, what they thought about, and why—all these things intrigued her.

After a career in the Canadian public service, during which she wrote fiction about the period, she moved to Mexico where she pursues her writing full time. She has just completed The Importance of Wives, her third published novel about Anne of Brittany, in her The Chronicles of the House of Valois series. The Importance of Sons and The Importance of Pawns continue the story of this determined woman who was also twice queen of France.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

In The Importance of Wives, author Keira Morgan introduces us to the Duchess Anne of Brittany who inherits her title after the death of her father Duke Francis. Her guardians are determined to marry her off, convinced that no woman could rule. But Anne, who is only eleven years old, refuses to cooperate. She is even kidnapped in an attempt to marry her to the old, ignorant, and cruel Sire d’Albret. However, she escapes and her enemies then declare her a rebel and start a civil war. To add to Anne’s troubles, the French have once again invaded. Her lands are ravaged, her people are starving, and, in desperation, Anne agrees to marry Maximilian, King of the Romans. However, they never meet, the marriage is by proxy only, and his promise of troops to help her cause is more trouble than they are worth. Once again, Anne is betrayed by those subjects who have sworn loyalty to her, and her country of Brittany is once again plunged into war with France.

I love books I call ‘leave the bed unmade and the dishes languishing in the sink’ reads, and this is one of those books. Once I started reading The Importance of Wives by Keira Morgan, I could not put it down. I bonded with Anne of Brittany from the first page. Her character was so well drawn that I cared for her, rooted for her, and cried for her. While the order of events is historically accurate, we can only guess how those people living years ago felt and what they said. Morgan has described their reactions with admirable sympathy and realism. I was transported back in time to the fifteenth century and lived every moment with Anne and her trusted lady-in-waiting. Her frustrations at being born a woman leaped off the page, along with the intransigent attitudes of the men who would use her to gain wealth and power for themselves. The glossary is easy to understand, and Canadian English is used. This makes it quite clear for the reader. However, what better accolade can I give than I immediately downloaded the follow-on book in the series. Highly recommended. One of the best historical novels I have read.