The King’s Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen is a complex but approachable historical fiction novel narrated by Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and the wife of Henry VII. Without a doubt I was captivated from beginning to end by Worth’s ability to weave the intrigue and suspense, plotting, murder, love and intense hatred of the period into a suspenseful but historical based thriller.
Elizabeth, though the favorite daughter of the charismatic King Edward IV, her life is full of sacrifice and disappointment. After her father’s death she flees into sanctuary at Westminster with her mother, sisters and brothers and watches helplessly as her parent’s marriage is declared bigamous and the royal children, herself included, declared bastards. Her mother rages at the ambition and treachery of her once beloved uncle, Richard of Gloucester, which seems to confirmed when her brother’s disappear into the Tower and Richard claims the throne for himself.
Elizabeth has great difficulty reconciling Richard, the uncle she loved, with the tyrant her mother claims he has become. It is only through the eyes of the ailing Queen Anne that Elizabeth sees Richard again as a man of dedication to England and one worthy of respect. Only after this life changing conversation with Queen Anne does Elizabeth find the courage to accept her destiny, to marry Henry Tudor and thereby unite the White Rose of York with the Red of Lancaster and forever end the bloodshed that has torn England apart. Elizabeth’s first love, much like that of her namesake and granddaughter, is England. Elizabeth admirably sacrifices her own personal happiness to bring peace to her beloved county.
As Queen, Elizabeth endures every disappointment with an innate regality few around her possess. Though Queen, Elizabeth finds that she is virtually powerless, constantly spied upon and watched by the Countess of Richmond, the King’s mother, the true font of power at court. Rather than fill her heart with spite and hatred she turns her affection to her children, especially Arthur, the heir and true human embodiment of the united England. Elizabeth learns to love her husband, and remarkable they seem to have a happy marriage.
Pretenders and threats to his new dynasty and especially from Perkin Warbeck, who claims to be the George, the Queen’s youngest brother, haunt Henry Tudor throughout his reign. Is this Perkin Warbeck her brother, Elizabeth cannot be sure and doesn’t have the power to find out. Many around her find her too complacent, but to this reader she seemed to possess a very important quality at this tumultuous time – she was a survivor.
Worth gives her reader a well-researched novel with close attention to historical detail and accuracy. Her author notes describe the writing process and the liberties she took with explanations for the same. Also, Worth provides her reader with a bibliography and historical notes. There is little criticism to offer regarding The King’s Daughter. This reader found it engaging, informative and a thoughtfully written account about the first Tudor Queen. A true must read!