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December 2008: The King's Daughter by Sandra Worth

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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Vanessa
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Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
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Post by Vanessa » Wed December 3rd, 2008, 2:51 pm

I have this book now. Hopefully I will get it read this month.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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JMJacobsen
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Post by JMJacobsen » Thu December 4th, 2008, 6:50 pm

[quote=""michellemoran""]I have to say that I really enjoyed The King's Daughter . I liked Worth's portrayal of Henry VII, who could have been characterized several different ways, and unlike Anne Boleyn, whose story is beginning to feel overdone to me, I found Elizabeth of York to be a breath of fresh air.[/quote]

I just now noticed your blurb on the cover, Michelle. Wow - you know you've made the big time when you're the blurb on the cover....way cool. :D

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JMJacobsen
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Post by JMJacobsen » Wed December 10th, 2008, 6:47 am

For whatever it's worth my official review is as follows:

It is important to understand that author Sandra Worth was taking a chance here: many of the characters that appear in The King's Daughter (Elizabeth Woodville, Richard III, Henry VII, et al) have sharply divided both historians and historical fiction readers for years and as the old saying goes, you simply cannot please everyone all of the time.

Being relatively open-minded when it comes to any of these historical figures often frees me to read many books that might offend others, although I freely admit to being particular downright picky about historical fiction in general. Writers such as Sharon Kay Penman, Dorothy Dunnett and, more recently, Michelle Moran have set the bar, as it were, quite high. As a result, I am more critical than perhaps I ought to be when picking up a historical novel.

Perhaps The King's Daughter and I started off on the wrong foot. The word "woe!" is uttered four times within the first six pages. Melodramatic, thought I.

I also took exception to the good versus evil characterizations in the novel. Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of Elizabeth of York, is not just portrayed as ambitious, she is downright evil. Every nasty historical rumor ever uttered about this controversial woman was played out in this novel. She is a practicing witch, a hateful mother who engages in out-and-out physical cat fights with her daughter, a scheming harridan who would pimp out her virgin daughter to obtain throne of England. While there is enough historical evidence to conclude that Woodville was ambitious to a fault, the heaps of evil attributed to her in The King's Daughter ends up detracting from Worth's argument: that it was her ambition that significantly contributed to the ultimate demise of the Yorkists.

Richard III and Queen Anne, on the other hand, are presented as veritable saints. Not simply good people with only honorable intentions, but with a domesticity that could have been much more convincing were it not so drenched in saccharine. The perfect King, so in love with his perfect Queen, living in a fairy tale that the evil Lancastrians want to destroy. Again, a sound premise that was taken to a theatrical extreme.

It must be said that Worth did not scrimp on the research for this novel. While there is no absolute evidence for many of the conclusions she reaches in the novel, this is quite within the historical fiction author's purveyance. The conclusions may have been more convincing, in my opinion, with more subtlety. It is indeed possible that Elizabeth harbored a love for her uncle and wished to marry him, but passages such as "We were never alone again after Anne's death, but our hearts were one each time our eyes met" were ever-so-slightly over the top.

I felt the novel greatly improved as the chapters went by. Once Richard kicked the bucket and Woodville headed off to the nunnery, things became far less melodramatic. Worth's characterization of Henry VII was temperate and because of this, quite believable. In fact, the novel improved so much that I even found flashes of absolute brilliance, such as the references to Machiavelli during Henry's reign. (Loved that!)

The basics of this novel are present: good research and plausible conclusions. I can't help but think that if Worth had just scaled it back a bit on the characterizations, this would have a very good piece of historical fiction instead of a fairy tale-esque melodrama.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Thu December 11th, 2008, 12:55 am

anyone else get this email?

Greed. Lust. Ambition. Betrayal. Blood.
The dramatic life of Elizabeth of York.





My Dear Readers,



I'm back with a new book due out December 2nd-- just in time for Christmas! THE KING'S DAUGHTER: A NOVEL OF THE FIRST TUDOR QUEEN is about Elizabeth of York who you may remember closed out the epilogue in the last book of The Rose of York trilogy. You may think there's not much more to learn about her than what you already know, but new details and research have shed light on this forgotten queen. Her story is amazing -- and shocking!

What intrigued me most about Elizabeth before I began my research was how much mystery clings to her-- how little is really known about her How could this be? Sister to the Princes in the Tower and mother of Henry VIII, the first Tudor queen lived at the epicenter of momentous events. So why does she hover barely visible on the fringes of history?





In fact, so little was known about her that her biographer had to resort to novelistic techniques in order to fill in the gaps of her life--the first time this was ever done! So I went researching, and slowly I found the clues I needed to explain the questions that troubled me.



Some of the questions were addressed in Richard's story, The Rose of York, but others are downright curious. For example, why has so little survived of Elizabeth when so much is known about her husband, Henry VII, her son Henry VIII, and even her mother-in-law, Margaret Beaufort? Did the Tudors keep her captive, and why should she be a threat to them? Did she believe the Pretender, Perkin Warbeck, was really her lost brother, Richard, Duke of York--and was Henry VII in love with the Pretender's wife?



I've included some reviews for you below. I hope you will read THE KING'S DAUGHTER and remember that it makes a great Christmas gift for family and friends who enjoy historical fiction. Write me when you've read it! You know how much I love hearing from you. Meanwhile, if you're in the Houston area, I hope you can stop by one of my two booksignings so I can sign it for you. The information is below. I hope to see you there.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings, and a very, very Happy New Year!

Sandra Worth





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



From Publisher's Weekly: "Worth vividly brings one of England's lesser-known queens to life in this luminous portrait of "Elizabeth the Good," wife of Henry VII and mother of the notorious Henry VIII. "



From The Romantic Times ~ “Worth's authentically detailed portrait of Elizabeth of York -- the daughter, niece, wife and mother of kings -- whose marriage to Henry VII ended the War of the Roses, displays the author's passion for the period and her adoration of her characters. She turns what might be an ordinary fictionalized biography into a banquet of simply luscious and delicious history.”



From Michelle Moran, author of the national bestseller, Nefertiti: A Novel: “Meticulously researched, exquisitely written, here is a rich, magnificent novel of the Tudor court evoking a once forgotten queen, now impossible to forget.”



The King's Daughter: A Novel of the first Tudor Queen


BOOKSIGNINGS





Barnes and Noble

Saturday, December 13th, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Galleria
5000 Westheimer Ste 100
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 629-8828

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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Thu December 11th, 2008, 8:41 am

Yes I got it as well.
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Tanzanite
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Post by Tanzanite » Fri December 12th, 2008, 12:44 am

Me too - and I won a signed copy.

Helen_Davis

Post by Helen_Davis » Fri December 12th, 2008, 12:50 am

I hate the one sided portrayals of Elizabeth Woodville. She's as maligned as Anne Boleyn. It's so misogynistic to see a woman who has ambition portrayed as evil. :mad:

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Amanda
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Post by Amanda » Fri December 12th, 2008, 3:02 am

[quote=""Tanzanite""]Me too - and I won a signed copy.[/quote]

Congratulations Tanzanite! I was hoping to bag one of those too, but I haven't heard anything, so I guess I missed out. Never mind!

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Carine
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Post by Carine » Mon December 15th, 2008, 7:43 am

Yes I got it too.

Oh congratulations Tanzanite ! I entered the contest aswell but I didn't hear anything about it, so I think I missed out too. But ... that's life ! :)

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Eyza
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Post by Eyza » Fri December 26th, 2008, 9:40 pm

Andromeda:

I haven't read The King's Daughter, or the other books in this series, so I can't speak directly to the issues raised there. However, while it may be "misogynistic" to malign either Anne Boleyn or Elizabeth Woodville, neither woman was exactly a saint. In the case of Elizabeth Woodville, she seems to have been ambitious enough, and Edward IV's reputation as a womanizer was well enough known, so she thought she could make a "catch" out of him, one way or another. Once she "caught" him, she seems to have invited her family along to share the catch. She was probably expected, to a certain extent, at least, to do this. OTOH, her family was numerous enough(and some of them were ambitious enough in their own right), to be resented by those who were at court already, and one of those was the future Richard III. I should add here that I don't think he was a "saint" either, nor do I think he was the villain Shakespeare and the Tudor historians make him out to be. By the same token, I don't think Elizabeth Woodville was a totally evil woman(unless you think ambition is "unfeminine" and yes, many people still do); just a very ambitious and possibly somewhat manipulative one. But since nobody surrounding her was particularly 'saintly" themselves, I think it all kind of evens out in the end. As far as historical portrayals are concerned, given the circumstances, a wide range of such fictional historical portrayals is possible, and while Worth's appears to exaggerated in places, it's only one of many.
Anne G


[quote=""Andromeda_Organa""]I hate the one sided portrayals of Elizabeth Woodville. She's as maligned as Anne Boleyn. It's so misogynistic to see a woman who has ambition portrayed as evil. :mad: [/quote]

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