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The King's Daughter. A Novel of the First Tudor Queen (Rose of York) Paperback – December 2, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Worth vividly brings one of England's lesser-known queens to life in this luminous portrait of "Elizabeth the Good," wife of Henry VII and mother of the notorious Henry VIII. The daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville Grey (who dabbled in witchcraft), Elizabeth of York first falls in love with her uncle-a man she originally despised-who later becomes King Richard III after Edward's death. Although she does not marry Richard, Elizabeth becomes queen when she accepts Henry Tudor's proposal and becomes the first Tudor Queen. Woven into Elizabeth's story are the shrewish machinations of her mother and Margaret Beaufort, Henry's mother, as well as the mysterious fates of her brothers, Edward V and Richard of York, the princes who disappeared in the Tower of London. Worth (Lady of the Roses) examines Elizabeth's life with a journalist's eye, an impressive feat given that her subject left little behind for study. This attention to detail will appeal to fans of historical fiction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"A banquet of simply luscious and delicious history."--Romantic Times, 4 ½ stars
2008 Best Historical Biography of the Year Reviewers Choice Award Winner
Winner of USA Book News Magazine's 2009 Best Books Awards (Historical Fiction)
"A rich, magnificent novel of the Tudor court evoking a once forgotten queen, now impossible to forget."~~ Michelle Moran, author of the national bestseller, Nefertiti: A Novel
"A Perfect Ten"!" ~~Romance Reviews Today --romrevtoday.com/12-10-08%20Update/the%20king%27s%20daughter%20-%2012-15-08.htm
"[A]n Elizabethan page-turner."~ Wisteria Leigh, Blog Critics Magazine
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Edward's early death led to a period of intrigue; his son was to become king, but Edward's brother, Richard, was crowned instead and ruled briefly as Richard III. Elizabeth Woodville took part in considerable scheming at the time. This is also a story within a story, as young Elizabeth ends up at Richard's court and comes to be a friend of the Queen, Anne (of the Neville family). As her health began to deteriorate, she tried to orchestrate young Elizabeth following her as Queen to Richard. No time! Henry Tudor arrived in England, fully intending to overthrow Richard III and assume a role as king. By the time of the battle at Bosworth, where Richard perished, young Elizabeth had fallen in love with him.
Afterward, a political marriage was arranged--Elizabeth (a Plantagenet from the House of York) to Henry Tudor, now styled Henry VII (a Tudor). The hope was to link feuding families and create conditions for a calmer, less turbulent England. Elizabeth and Henry did not love one another; they did develop a rapprochement over time. She submerged herself as Queen to maintain pacific relations in the realm. Thus, she is sometimes styled "Elizabeth the Invisible," because she avoided situations that could create problems. She was also called "Elizabeth the Good" be the people, for her generosity and care for them.
The book describes the hard times, the multitudinous deaths as Henry tries to quell any opponents who might threaten his rule. The book discusses the wicked fights between Elizabeth Woodville and Henry's mother, Margaret Beaufort. The tale ends naturally, with Elizabeth's death at an early age.
This book is rendered in the first person, with Elizabeth the character through whose eyes we see. As always, the disadvantage here is that she experiences many important events at a distance. This allows us to better see how such events (death, defeat, etc.) affect her, but sometimes this works against a fuller knowledge of those incidents. The book is well written. The characters seem to take on a life through Elizabeth's eyes. Some characters are especially striking--the juxtaposition of her sons Arthur and Henry (later Henry VIII) is one nice example. Sometimes, characters seem to be one dimensional--awfully good or awfully bad. Seen through her eyes, that may make sense, but often times matters are more nuanced than that among humans. At any rate, I found this a good read and enjoyed this volume quite a bit.
I've been searching for a long time for books about Elizabeth of York and Henry VII for ages, so I eagerly dove into this book. I did enjoy most of the information about Elizabeth's childhood, I think Worth does a good job bringing fresh insights into that.
However, when Richard the Third is introduced, the book loses plausablity. Worth seems to discredit any possablity that Richard was responsiable for the death of the Princes in the Tower and makes Elizabeth annoying when it comes to her feelings for her uncle. The whole "I love Richard" read a bit, well, shallow. Her greif when he died was also forced, so it seemed.
I was hoping for something fresh with her relationship with her children and her husband, Henry VII, but she seemed to hate him. I was hoping that she'd grow to love him, but maybe that's the romantic in me. But I did enjoy the relationships with her children, espiecally her son Arthur.
So overall, a decent read. Some flaws but it's worth a look for fans of Tudor England those who are interested in Elizabeth of York.
Unfortunately, however, after about the first third of the book, Worth began to rely upon constant reiteration of two themes...though, thankfully without ever losing momentum in the overall storyline itself. Worth's themes for this book seemed to be the following: Richard III was actually some kind of angel-like super-king, kind to a fatal fault and with terrible luck; and Henry VII was a greedy, power-hungry, blood-thirsty villain of a man who was actually a puppet of his own wickedly power-obsessed mother. It quickly became too obvious that Worth was trying to rehabilitate Richard III's terrible historical reputation, but she did her topic no favors by relying on the contrast between two blatantly biased caricatures.
The other major detraction from what could have been a very good little novel was how Worth appeared to abandon developing Elizabeth further as she lived through all of this turmoil. Elizabeth mentioned several times how much she hated conflict and contention, and Worth even had Elizabeth remark to herself early in the novel that speaking out just wasn't in her nature. And then Elizabeth spent the last two-thirds of the book either cringing in fear, fighting back tears of misery, or suffering a pounding headache every four or five pages. Worth managed to create a wimp of woman who indulged in incessant whining on nearly every page--she bemoaned internally about terrible situations she chose to watch unfold without protesting or trying to stop them. Worth had Elizabeth regularly offer herself the cold comfort of saying "it's in God's hands", while telling herself that she did her best. Did her best?! She did nothing!! All the while that people were dying around her, Elizabeth rarely spoke up; instead, choosing to complain to herself about the invisibility she seemed purposely to have cultivated.
Don't get me wrong, I never expected a feminist heroine--I am, in fact, a European historian and have studied this era. I am fully aware of the gender situation in Early Modern Europe--it was a pretty bad one, specifically where women were concerned. But Worth had strong, out-spoken female characters in her novel--one of which being Elizabeth's own mother--so there were examples against which to contrast the exceedingly watery Elizabeth, which only made her appear even more of a coward. This could have been an entertaining read. It flowed quickly, was easy to move through (minus the ubiquitous headaches), but disintegrated as it went along until I began to wonder how long Worth was going to torture her narrator.
"The King's Daughter" could have received three stars--it started out rather well and was entertaining at first--but Sandra Worth should have spent more time developing some of her characters (especially the narrator), instead of indulging in blatant caricaturization---and if only she had left off the monotonous whimpering. I have read excellently researched and written historical novels--this, regrettably, was not one of them.
Most recent customer reviews
It's is so passionate and sweet.
I love so much Richard III and Elizabeth of York together!