The first child of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York seems destined for greatness. She is the apple of her father’s eye, betrothed to the heir to the French throne, and loved by the people. When her father dies too young and Richard III takes the throne over her brother Edward, Elizabeth’s mother rushes the family into sanctuary. Increasingly, the family hears horrible things about Richard and fears for the worst. One night, however, Richard himself visits the sanctuary and everything changes. As history inexorably moves forward, changing lives all over England, Elizabeth well earns her reputation as selfless, generous, and noble.
I’m not sure how to review this book. Let me say first that I really enjoyed it and give you my historian’s opinion. Sandra Worth never goes outside of the facts; she fills in between the lines. With Elizabeth of York, there is quite a bit to fill in; she is so little known. In some ways, I’d call this a very romantic interpretation of the history, but I think that’s why many of us read historical fiction. I simply know too much about Richard III. Worth has definitely done her research, and I really appreciated her selected bibliography at the end, but I’m wondering why she didn’t include more of the modern histories on Edward IV and Richard III. Personally, I loved the idea that Perkin Warbeck was actually the younger of the two princes in the tower. So little has been done on that possibility and it’s an exciting question, if one we’ll never know the answer to. I too wonder why the bones found in the Tower haven’t been exhumed and analyzed in recent years. If they are the princes, then these questions would be conclusively answered.
Okay, now, as a book, how did it hold up? Well, I really liked it. I loved Elizabeth. She’s a great, strong, sympathetic character throughout. I knew what was going to happen, so I didn’t get caught up in the plot, but I think if I didn’t know the history I would have been. In any case, the book is well-written and easy to lose yourself in for a while. Something else I really liked was how well the author depicted the changes between the Plantagenet kings and the Tudors and the shift into the early modern period, which for me is marked by the growth in the king’s power and the lessening of the nobles’ power.
Overall, this is solid, entertaining historical fiction and I definitely recommend it.
Buy The King’s Daughter on Amazon.