Review: The Importance of Sons by Keira Morgan


Whose Son will be King?

In 1491, France conquers Brittany. As part of the peace treaty, fifteen-year-old Duchess Anne must marry the young French king. She arrives in France, defeated, homesick and surrounded by enemies. Once the ruler of her duchy, her only value and duty as queen is to provide an heir. With only her pride to sustain her, can Anne make a place for herself in her enemy’s court?

All France rejoices when Charles-Orland is born—except one woman. Countess Louise d’Angoulême resents the tiny, beguiling Queen Anne from the moment they meet. The countess is determined that her son shall reign. When the king sets off for Italy, his sights set on conquest, he appoints his sister as regent. Countess Louise, using her considerable skills for intrigue, grasps the opportunity to challenge the queen.

Because her husband’s sister orchestrated the defeat of Brittany, Anne detests the woman. Yet the king relies on his sister, so she holds the key to the king’s confidence. Can Anne put aside her anger to make his sister an ally?

Most important of all, can she protect her children from Louise’s determination that her son will be the next king? Whose son will succeed to the throne?

Based on the eventful life of Anne, beloved Duchess of Brittany and influential Queen of France, this is the riveting story of a dangerous rivalry between two strong women in a man’s world and sets the stage for The Importance of Pawns.

My Review

This book is a prequel to “The Importance of Pawns”, though interestingly enough, it, too, contains its own pawns in the unsparing world of French royalty. We mostly follow Queen Anne, Duchess of Brittany who was forced to marry King Charles to save her country from war and ruin. She loves King Charles, but he manages to break every single promise he made before she agreed to marry him. And she feels helpless to object. The only thing that gives her a semblance of power—and control—is her ability to bear children, and even this goes awry. So when her rival Louise, Countess d’Angouleme successfully gives birth to Francis—who is heir presumptive—the antagonism increases in volume. From the Pawns novel, we already know that Louise is a grasping opportunist, and here she practically outdoes herself in vicious innuendo. But Anne is no fool and does her best to steer clear of her annoying relative. However, she does feel isolated and inevitably strikes out at whoever she perceives to be acting against her—in this case, Duke Louis d’Orleans who is the current dauphin:

Charles and Cousin Catherine looked horrified. Anne’s voice shook. “You rejoice, Cousin Louis. That is what I see. My precious son is dead, and you rejoice… for now you are dauphin.” Once started she could not stop the words that exploded from her like steam from a plugged kettle. “Not content with that, you cannot wait, but rush to step into my husband’s shoes. You have offended me.” With that, she hurried from the hall.

That takes some fixing! But Louis is not a bad sort, and fortunately they do come to an understanding. Why is this important? Because, again as we see in Pawns, she becomes his queen. How she got there is divulged in this novel. Great reading about a period that doesn’t get enough coverage.


Meet Keira Morgan

Keira retired from training and management in the Canadian Public Service to follow a career as an author. She now writes from Mexico where she lives happily with a husband, two cats and two dogs. Her doctoral level studies in Renaissance history underlie her historical fiction. She writes about the turbulent sixteenth-century French Renaissance. Her stories tell of powerful women who challenged tradition to play crucial roles in French affairs. Find out more at KJ Morgan — Writer

She also maintains a non-fiction website, All About French Renaissance Women, [] where she writes about the lives of Frenchwomen during the era. She plans to collect their biographies into a book.

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