Monday, December 22, 2008

Review: The King's Daughter

Summary: In this groundbreaking novel, award-winning author Sandra Worth vibrantly brings to life the people’s Queen, “Elizabeth the Good.”

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… -- Berkley

I have been really enjoying historical fiction lately, so I was thrilled when I received THE KING'S DAUGHTER by Sandra Worth. While I like reading books about historical figures, I have to admit that I don't know much about these kings and queens beyond what I've read in a few novels. Fortunately I have read a few books about Henry VIII; so when I saw THE KING'S DAUGHTER which is about his mother Elizabeth of York, I knew I wanted to read it.

I really enjoyed this novel mainly because I liked the character of Elizabeth so much. She was surrounded by so much pain and so many awful people, but she put her country and family above all else. I appreciated how the author wrote the novel in Elizabeth's words because it truly gave me a sense of her thoughts and feelings. I found some of the scenes where she described how much she loved her son to be very touching.

I found all of the supporting characters in this novel to be quite interesting too. King Henry and his mother were just despicable characters, and there were many other people in Elizabeth's life who were evil and willing to do anything to get ahead. I especially "enjoyed" the parts of this novel where King Henry VIII was a child. He was a holy terror and already showing the signs of the ruthless leader he eventually became.

There were a lot of historical figures in this novel, and I must admit that, at times, I did have a hard time keeping everyone straight. I'm not sure if my issues were because I wasn't familiar with the characters, or if I was somewhat distracted because of the busy holiday season. Either way, the author did a wonderful job of explaining the characters; and my confusion didn't detract from the novel.

Ms. Worth is an award-winning author of four previous historical novels including her Rose of York trilogy. She has also written LADY OF THE ROSES which is the true love story of the medieval ancestors of both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill. Besides writing, she is a frequent lecturer on the Wars of the Roses. After reading THE KING'S DAUGHTER, I can say that Ms. Worth knows her stuff. The amount of research conducted to write this book is astounding. I thought she did a wonderful job of incorporating the facts into this fictional account of Elizabeth of York's life.

Before reading this novel I had little, if any, knowledge of the War of the Roses. There were many references to this time period, and I found all of it to be fascinating. After reading this book, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up Ms. Worth's Rose of York trilogy. If these three books are as well researched as THE KING'S DAUGHTER, I think I'll be in for a treat.

If you enjoy historical fiction novels that are filled with loads of factual information, you should take a look at THE KING'S DAUGHTER. I think it would make a great book club discussion book, especially if your group enjoys historical fiction. There are reader questions available on Ms. Worth's website; and while you are there, you might want to check out some other reviews as well as some of her interviews.


Gwendolyn B. said...

Julie: Nice review! I'm reading this book right now and also really enjoying it. I have read quite a bit of history and fiction about this time period, and THE KING'S DAUGHTER is definately right on the mark. This is my first novel by Sandra Worth, but I'll be picking up her others soon.
geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Great review, Julie. I haven't read very much historical fiction, but I have enjoyed what I read, so I think it's a genre I need to explore more.

S. Krishna said...

Great review! I really enjoyed this one as well. I love how well-researched it was.

Jo-Jo said...

Nice review, I've seen many positive comments about this book. Think I will have to add it to my list!

Cheryl said...

I read this book as well. I enjoyed it too. I got a little lost at first as well but figured out what was going on pretty quickly.

Great review

Serena said...

I've seen this book about the blogosphere and I think this one is up my alley. Great review...I'll be placing this on the TBR good reads list.

Passages to the Past said...

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If you'd like to check out my blog