Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on The King's Daughter.
There are many historical novels that focus on the kings, queens or courtiers of the Tudor court, yet the first Tudor queen, Elizabeth the Good, has largely been ignored until now. Sandra Worth takes a look at this fascinating woman who was daughter, sister, niece, wife and mother to kings.
Elizabeth of York is a teenager when her father dies, leaving his kingdom to her brother, who is still a child. The power is passed to the king's brother – Richard of Gloucester – who is reviled by Elizabeth's mother. His rise causes devasation in Elizabeth's family. Her father is deemed a bigamist, making Elizabeth and her siblings illegitimate. Her brothers are taken into Richard's custody, supposedly for their protection, but rumors start to swirl that he had them murdered.
After a few years in sanctuary, Elizabeth goes to Richard's court to serve as a lady in waiting to Queen Anne. It is at court that Elizabeth discovers that Richard is truly a good and just king, and she falls passionately in love with him. But his downfall ushers in the Tudor era, and she feels it is her duty to accept the marriage proposal of Henry VII and become the queen of England. While her marriage to Henry ends the War of the Roses, it does not usher in a time of peace. Another man challenges Henry for the throne, one whom many believe to be Elizabeth's brother and rightful heir, Richard.
There are scant details about Elizabeth in historical record, but the attention to detail in this novel is obvious. Worth researched the historical events and the major players of the period who would have had a profound impact on Elizabeth's life, which lends great authenticity to the novel. The world of the Tudor court is richly detailed.
The weaknesses in this novel are few, but they do exist. Not all of the characters are as developed as they could be. Elizabeth had seven children, but only Henry (the future Henry VIII) crackles with life on the book's pages. Evidence suggests that Elizabeth and her husband had true affection and tenderness toward each other, but in the novel, Elizabeth struggles not to hate him and reserves her true love and passion for her uncle, King Richard.
Overall, The King's Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen (Rose of York) is absolutely spellbinding. It definitely deserves a place among other excellent historical novels of the Tudor dynasty.