Title: The King’s Daughter
Author: Sandra Worth
Release Date: December 2, 2008
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth of York trusts that her beloved father’s dying wish has left England in the hands of a just and deserving ruler. But upon the rise of Richard of Gloucester, Elizabeth’s family experiences one devastation after another: her late father is exposed as a bigamist, she and her siblings are branded bastards, and her brothers are taken into the new king’s custody, then reportedly killed.
But one fateful night leads Elizabeth to question her prejudices. Through the eyes of Richard’s ailing queen she sees a man worthy of respect and undying adoration. His dedication to his people inspires a forbidden love and ultimately gives her the courage to accept her destiny, marry Henry Tudor, and become Queen. While her soul may secretly belong to another, her heart belongs to England…
The King’s Daughter is the story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and mother of King Henry VIII. According to Sandra Worth, she was the only English queen to have been a wife, daughter, sister, niece, and mother to English kings – that’s definitely a pedigree worth writing about! The time period of the novel is directly after the Wars of the Roses, the devastating English war that raged on between the houses of York and Lancaster for thirty years.
For me, the most interesting part of the novel was not Elizabeth’s portrayal, but that of Richard III. Prior to reading this novel, I didn’t know much about him – simply that he was humpbacked and that he had usurped the crown and imprisoned two princes in the Tower of London. They were never seen again, so people supposed that he had them murdered. The sympathetic representation of Richard III in The King’s Daughter surprised me, not because I don’t think it’s possible that he has been the subject of slander, but because I’ve never read anything that really tried to vindicate him. I thought it was extremely interesting and am planning on reading some of the books that Worth recommends at the end of the book about Richard III, namely Audrey Williamson’s The Mystery of the Princes.
My heart bled for Elizabeth when I was reading the novel. Her life was so quiet, yet so unbelievably tragic. She experienced so much pain and loss, and had to quietly bear it on her own. She was extremely well written, though I wished she could have had a bit more backbone. Of course, Worth was constrained by the historical record of Elizabeth in writing the character, so her portrayal is understandable. I have to say that the main love story in the novel struck me as odd and made me uncomfortable (I can’t say any more than that without revealing key plot details), but again, Worth was sticking to historical evidence.
I thought that The King’s Daughter was very well crafted. There is a long note at the end of the book expounding on the historical details included in the novel, which I really appreciated. Of course, all historical fiction is subject to interpretation and will include fanciful details on the author’s part, but it is nice to know whether what you are reading is grounded in fact. Worth obviously took a lot of time and effort to research Elizabeth of York’s life, and it has really paid off. I recommend The King’s Daughter to any fan of historical fiction; Elizabeth of York is a fascinating character and an important (if virtually forgotton) part of English history.