Treason’s Daughter

Written by Antonia Senior
Review by Sarah Brooks

Henrietta Challoner, called Hen, is a highly educated young girl who prefers education over the traditional role for women of her day. Living in London, on the brink of the English Civil Wars, Hen lives a highly privileged life as the pampered only daughter of a successful linen merchant, Richard Challoner, and she adores her two brothers, Ned and Sam.

In the beginning, people are drawn into taking sides in the religious and political struggles between King Charles and Parliament. The Challoner family cannot escape being caught up in these events. Hen, her father and younger brother Sam favor a moderate position, while Ned is a staunch man of independent faith, who believes that the King and his Catholic wife are endangering England.

All too soon the reader is trapped by the complicated history of the English Civil Wars which last nearly 10 years, the time span of the novel. In the beginning, the King and his royal forces are successful. Ned joins the rebels, the army of Parliament, to the dismay of the Challoner family, and this is the driving wedge that will separate father from son, and lead Richard Challoner into treasonous dealings to aid the King within London, a Parliament stronghold.

Hen faces challenges, betrayals, and love she never anticipated. Through all the adversity she encounters, Hen never stops supporting her family – both sides. Antonia Senior has crafted a well-written story of a family’s desperation in the midst of a society breaking down from traditional ways. Treason’s Daughter is a masterful retelling of the struggles against King Charles, the divinely-appointed King, and the beginnings of English democracy, and of a family which will never be the same as it once was.