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Kate O'Brien

That Lady by Kate O’Brien (Virago Modern Classics)

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“That Lady” is a historical novel written by Irish author Kate O’Brien, first published in 1946. Set in 16th-century Spain, the novel tells the story of Ana de Mendoza, the Princess of Eboli, a real historical figure who was known for her beauty, wit, and political influence during the reign of King Philip II of Spain.

The novel follows Ana’s tumultuous life, beginning with her early years as a privileged noblewoman and her marriage to Ruy Gomez de Silva, the King’s trusted advisor. As Ana navigates the treacherous political landscape of the Spanish court, she becomes embroiled in intrigue, betrayal, and scandal. Her passionate love affair with Antonio Pérez, the King’s secretary, threatens to unravel her carefully constructed life and jeopardize her position at court.

Through Ana’s story, O’Brien explores themes of power, ambition, love, and betrayal, shedding light on the complex dynamics of gender, politics, and religion in 16th-century Spain. “That Lady” is celebrated for its rich historical detail, vivid characterization, and lyrical prose, making it a timeless classic of historical fiction.

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