Daughter of York — by Anne Easter Smith

I was looking for a book in the new book section at the library for my husband.  As I was browsing, I noticed a nice thick book which pictures of 1400’s England.  I picked it up for myself!  A Novel

Daughter of York is the story of Margaret York, prominent sister of King Edward of England in the late 1400s.  I was interested in this book because it was an era in English history that I had not read about before.  I’ve been basically obsessed, in the past, with King Henry’s era and reading all of Philipia Gregory’s books. 

Anyway, Margaret becomes a bargaining chip for King Edward as he tries to fortify England against France and become aligned with Burgundy.  She is forced to marry Duke Charles of Burgundy, even though she is in love with Edward’s brother-in-law, Lord Anthony Woodville.  But, Margaret does her duty for England and becomes a strong woman who accomplishes a great deal. 

This book took me awhile to get through.  It was very detailed with the history, which many people might enjoy.  However, it bogged me down a little.  There were too many names to remember, many of them being the same (everyone seemed to be Edward, Richard, Charles, Margaret, Mary or Elizabeth).  And, of course, the names change as the ranks change.  The author did provide a detailed list of the characters in the early part of the book as well as a family tree.  The family tree was helpful, but I was still confused by whom everyone was.  After a while, I focused only on the main characters and stop trying to remember who everyone was.  It made the book a little easier going.

As for the story of Margaret,  that I truly enjoyed.  The author made Margaret very real for me (which, of course, she is.)  The author did a great job describing Margaret’s conflicting thoughts and feelings throughout the novel.  I cared about Margaret.  I also cared about the other main characters, even though they were quite flawed.  Again, the author did a fabulous job describing everyone.

At the end of the book, in the author notes, the author admits that she made up the romance between Anthony and Margaret which was a central part of the book.  Based on historical data, the romance was possible, but not confirmed.  This was quite a surprise (and disappointment) to me based on the big part the romance played in the novel and the fact that the rest of the historical data was so well researched and portrayed in the book.  I really wanted happiness for Margaret and Anthony!  At least in real life, it was not meant to be.  

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, but not to everyone.  If you are a real history buff who likes lots of facts in your fiction stories, this book is for you.  If you are looking for something a little lighter, I might skip this one.

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4 responses to “Daughter of York — by Anne Easter Smith

  1. I always feel a pleasant little tingle when romances are based on something real, and a wee bit disappointed when they’re made up. At least when it comes to historicals. Like you, I would be drawn to this book because of the time period; I haven’t read much about it, either. The whole character thing can be so confusing and I tend to skim if I’m confused.

    I really like Philippa Gregory’s books. What did you think about “The Other Boleyn Girl” movie?

  2. I read the book that preceeded this (can’t remember what its called, but it was about Richard III). Very good fiction based on a relationship that Richard III had, and also worth reading.

  3. Fuzzycricket,

    I thought the movie was just okay. I really loved that book (I used to hide in the bathroom from the kids to read a couple of pages!) But, the movie was different than the book (I know that happens), but it just didn’t sit as well as the book!

    Katherine — I was thinking of trying the other book when I’m ready for another hefty read!

  4. This is me being blog traffic. 🙂 I saw your post over on Lisa’s blog. Well done!

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