Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Perfect 10: THE KING'S DAUGHTER by Sandra Worth

A Perfect 10
Berkley Books
ISBN: 978-0-425-22144-0
December 2008
Historical Fiction

England -1470 to 1503

Elizabeth of York was born into a family in conflict. The eldest child of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, she knew early on in life that while her father adored her, her mother was more concerned with her sons and the throne. The opposite disposition of her manipulative, cold-blooded mother, Elizabeth knew from childhood that her future lay in marrying someone who would benefit her mother’s ambition. There are times when the growing family has to defend itself from rumor and invasion, but throughout it all, Elizabeth knows that her father’s love for them will prevail. When he dies suddenly, though, her world is turned upside down. What will happen to her two younger brothers as her mother tries to control their future, while her uncle Richard takes firm hold of the country, first in his nephew’s name, and then, after discovering the secrets that Edward and his common-born wife withheld from all, as king. Where does that leave Richard’s nieces and nephews? Can he be trusted?

Elizabeth is placed in Richard’s household and comes to know the new king and his wife better. She discovers his deep concern for the people of England and the laws that govern them. But most of all, Elizabeth sees the complete love he shares with his frail wife, Anne, and their young son. As an observer, Elizabeth is aware of the fragility of Richard’s throne. Margaret Beaufort’s son, Henry Tudor, is claiming the throne also, and, despite the slim thread of that claim, he has mustered support both in England and the continent. Richard must be in constant defense mode to protect his blood right as the last royal Plantagenet to rule his country. His brother’s sons have disappeared, making Richard the obvious culprit, despite what Elizabeth knows of the kind, caring man. One after another, heart-wrenching events throw Richard into a spin, even as Henry lands on English soil. At Richard’s death in battle, Elizabeth’s future becomes much too clear. She will be the new Queen of England.

As the wife of upstart Henry Tudor, Elizabeth is the lynchpin to his credibility. Always under the direct control and observation of his conniving, controlling mother, Elizabeth deals with everyday life dedicated to her children and to God, and always remembering Richard and his kindness and devotion to his family, friends, and country. It’s a somber existence that Elizabeth faces honestly and thoughtfully, for she has no say and no power in the running of her country, but her kindness and charity make her beloved of her people, even as they curse her husband and his mother.

THE KING’S DAUGHTER is another beautifully crafted and well-researched novel by Sandra Worth. Every time I pick up one of her books, I’m immediately immersed in the story and the characters she brings to life in such incredible detail. Elizabeth of York, while a tragic figure who endured much heartache in her life, was the daughter, sister, niece, wife, and mother of a king, making her place in history unique. Her people called her Elizabeth the Good for her love for them, and this first person account of her is a wonderful tribute to the woman who was Henry VIII’s mother and Elizabeth Tudor’s grandmother.

Jani Brooks

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