Daughter of the White Rose

Written by Diane Zahler
Review by Bonnie DeMoss

This is a middle-grade tale based on true events that took place in England between 1470 and 1485. It is a fictional take on the actual imprisonment of Prince Edward, heir to the throne of Edward IV, and his brother Richard (Dickon), told through the eyes of a commoner.

Nell Gould is the daughter of John Gould, who eventually becomes Butcher to the King. As a child, Nell is allowed to come to the palace and play with King Edward IV’s son, Prince Edward, and his sisters. Later, Nell’s younger brother Toby and Edward’s brother Dickon become friends. Of all the children, Edward and Nell become very close. When King Edward IV suddenly dies, his brother Richard, uncle to the boys, becomes Lord Protector of the two young princes, ages 12 and 9. He eventually has them declared illegitimate, imprisons them, and declares himself king. Nell and Toby find themselves summoned by the exiled Queen to go to the tower and serve as companions for her imprisoned sons.

This is an interesting, engaging, and well-written story. Nell spends her childhood as a friend of the young prince, and then grows up quickly as a companion of an exiled king. The contrasts between the daily life of the royals and that of the commoners are well described. The few prospects of a young woman at that time, royal or not, are told through the lives of Nell, and of Edward’s sisters. Although this is a middle-grade book, it does contain danger, murder, and intrigue. There is a helpful section of historical facts and a timeline in the back. I would recommend this novel for anyone interested in the famous mystery of the Princes in the Tower.