A Marriage of Fortune by Anne O’Brien


This is the sequel to The Royal Game, continuing the story of the Paston family of Paston Letters fame.  Again, the title’s misleading, because it isn’t about one particular marriage.   It’s about several marriages, and marriages which never actually happened, plus the family’s ongoing struggles to hold on to Caister Castle, possession of which was seen as giving them gentry status, and the effects on them of the twists and turns in the Wars of the Roses.

The three women in the first book continue their stories in this book.  Margaret Paston, nee Mautby, tries to find advantageous marriages for her children.  Eliza Poynings, nee Paston, remarries happily, but is caught up in the rising against Richard III.  Anne Haute waits and waits for John Paston to marry her.   And we also hear from Margery Paston, later Calle, who famously married the family’s steward, and Margery Brews, later Paston, who famously wrote the first known Valentine in English.

Like all Anne O’Brien’s books, it’s a really good read.  It doesn’t go too deeply into anything, and the family tree at the beginning gives away any mysteries as to who marries whom, if you don’t already know; but it’s very entertaining, and highly recommended.


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