The King’s Daughter

Written by Sandra Worth
Review by Victoria Lyle

Sandra Worth deftly illuminates the violent and messy political complexities of 15th-century England through the eyes of Elizabeth of York, the wife of Henry VII.

You’d think that the daughter of Edward IV, the niece of Richard III, and the mother of Henry VIII would be a most fierce queen, but “Good Queen Elizabeth” of this story is just the opposite. Raised amid the familial bloodshed of the Wars of the Roses, Elizabeth is determined not to let ambition destroy her world. In the hopes of peace she willingly weds the man who defeated her uncle in battle; in the hopes of domestic tranquility she knuckles under the demands of her formidable mother-in-law; to avoid conflict she rarely confronts her own husband even as he tortures and kills her friends and family. In this turbulent era, Elizabeth’s determination would appear to be a great strength—a moral superiority. Yet as woe is piled upon woe, the good queen’s lack of response to every calamity—other than wallowing in sorrow—begins to grate. Thus, the author’s considerable talents in portraying the era are hamstrung by a story propelled by events happening to the main character, rather than influenced by her.

Sometimes the little mouse in the corner has the best vantage point, but oh, how I wish—just once—she’d run out and bite!