Richard III discussion

Book Discussions > The King's Daughter by Sandra Worth

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message 1: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Please discuss the book here with your other group members. I'll be starting this one in the next day or so.

message 2: by MAP (new)

MAP | 181 comments I have a review of it up in my books so I won't repost the whole thing here.

Basically, 2 things: I had just come off the Sunne in Splendour, which I find really excellently written, and I am kind of a snob about writing style. That is, a book can have an excellent plot, interesting ideas, and thought-provoking questions, but if the way it is written, the words, the descriptions, if the author, for example, overdoes the use of a word, phrase, or technique (I can't tell you how many times Arthur Golden used the word "lacquered" in Memoirs of a Geisha. Not everything has to be lacquered!) it can make or break a book for me.

The book works hard to be basically historically accurate, and give one a sense of what the conflicts of the time were, but after The Sunne in Splendour, which had really opened up the world of 15th century England to me so vividly, something about The King's Daughter just fell flat. Everything that had seemed so vividly real in my head after Sunne felt like cardboard sets in my mind during Daughter.

I'm certainly in the minority feeling this way; most of the reviews are really pretty positive on Goodreads, and I know and have no problem with people disagreeing with me on this book. :) I really don't think it was a bad book at all, and to people who are just delving into the War of the Roses or Tudor history, it's probably a great jumping off point. It just wasn't my cup of (earl grey, hot) tea.

message 3: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Well, I'm now around page 100 and while it hasn't damaged the wall yet, there's still that possibility. The writing is a bit flat and pollyanish (could Elizabeth bleed a bit more sugar??), and I'm not getting a good feeling of time and place - the only cloth anyone wears is velvet? Maybe its just me, I didn't sleep well last night. Perhaps a nap might help :)

message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura Misfit, another wall-banger book??

message 5: by Barb (last edited Jan 12, 2009 05:06AM) (new)

Barb | 145 comments Misfit,
I read your review, sorry you didn't like the book but I'm glad you didn't break anything! It's funny I was a bit disappointed that she gave Henry Tudor a fair shake, I wanted him to be the villain. And I was immediately turned off by the "woe!" but overall I thought the book was somewhat unemotional. Or at least Elizabeth was somewhat unemotional, I would have liked it more had she offered a greater range of emotions.

message 6: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Misfit, another wall-banger book??"

Laura, yes and I have to mosey over to Amazon and put it on THE LIST. It took a lot of will power to avoid wall damage.

Barb, can't figure out why my review isn't showing up at Amazon. Wonder if it's the quote from the book when Woodville tells Elizabeth to...... (you know eewwww).

I agree about the "woe" nonsense, and we're not the only readers irritated by that. Funny about Henry, although if he was a villain too who'd we have left to be a good guy after pure Richard got bumped off?

I just can't get all the hype I've read about Worth and her books, there was nothing in the writing to impress me one bit, let alone such boring dialogue.

message 7: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Another thing I forgot to add, it was pointed out over at HFonline that Elizabeth constantly refers to the Wars of the Roses - a term that was not "coined" until the 19C.

I'm still waiting for a good, meaty book on Elizabeth. I believe PG is writing one and perhaps she can pull it off. We'll have to wait and see.

message 8: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
I just finished the last of it and I'm a bit shocked at what Worth intimidated about Arthur's death. He's healthy as a horse all his life and then wham (!) he drops dead?? I could swear everything I read about the Tudors was that he was always sickly.

Barb, did you get the same impression on that that I did?

message 9: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Misfit,
My misconception was that he died when he was an adult, I don't recall reading anything about his well being during his life...

Ikon, fact-check here please...
Arthur Tudor sickly?

message 11: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments well there you go...

message 12: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Now I ask you, do you think Worth was indicating foul play by you know who against Arthur in her book? If so, that's another lulu she pulled out of thin air without any historical basis -- along with the let's let Henry VII see that Elizabeth is a virgin. Why do authors do this? If there's a whiff of a hint and they discuss it in their notes at the end and why they included it I'm OK, but to be pulling rabbits out of thin air just for some salacious tid bit I get a bit cranky.

message 13: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Well, I certainly thought foul play...but wasn't Arthur far away and Henry at home with ma and pa? I didn't necessarily think foul play by Henry's hand.

Honestly I don't remember the virginity check???? what was it?

And I appreciate the salacious rabbit thrown in hare and there.

message 14: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Yes Arthur was far away but she sure as hell drop some big hints (maybe I misunderstood) about Henry and then the sudden ill health.

The virginity test - you must have been skimming :)

After Richard died and Henry didn't jump to get the knot tied Woodville freaked out and thought Henry and everyone else must have thought she was pregnant by Richard (oh please) and wicked mom had her submit to Henry ( the full monty) to prove she was a virgin. She got pregnant too. I pretty much lost it after that little tidbit.

message 15: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments I am not easily offended, I will have to go back and take a look...

I did like the way she portrayed Henry as a sociopath!

message 16: by Barb (last edited Jan 13, 2009 05:03AM) (new)

Barb | 145 comments Misfit,

Okay let me see if I found the so called virginity check, Is this it on page 159...

'I stood in my shift, my hair loose around me, shivering for cold. He seemed taken aback at the sight of me for a moment and halted in his steps. Then he resumed his pace and drew near. After all this was business-for both of us. I braced myself not to recoil at his touch which was icy; at his breath which was stale; at his scent, which was musty...

...I lay back on the bed in the darkness, and held my breath. The sound of panting came to me, and into my mind flashed the image of a winded wolf, his red eyes glowing as he chewed on his prey. A short sharp pain stabbed my groin, and I cried out; then another stab. Was this what poets had in mind when they wrote of love? Surely not; this was something repellent; disgusting; awful business; naught but pain...'

Was that it?

message 17: by Pat (new)

Pat | 39 comments Oh My, Yuck!! I will not read this one.

message 18: by Laura (new)

Laura LOL!!

message 19: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Barb, yep that's it. That's the kind of crap that ticks me off when authors make that up when there's no historical basis for it.

I wasn't all that impressed with her writing either. I won't be reading any more from this author.

message 20: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
"I did like the way she portrayed Henry as a sociopath!"

Henry sure did get off on people getting hurt, didn't he? The poor whipping boy.

message 21: by MAP (new)

MAP | 181 comments
I did like the way she portrayed Henry as a sociopath!"

See, I hated that. I found it to be cheap foreshadowing, cheap dualism (Arthur vs. Henry), and something in me doubted it's even true. We don't know anything about anything when it comes to Henry VIII's childhood, but he was too well touted as a "great prince," and he basically married Katherine of Aragon out of pure chivalry, because he felt so darn bad for her.

I know that people didn't generally write anything bad about royalty, so we have to take that into account, but Don Carlos (about a generation later, Spain) was a total creepy nutball and the fact is, despite everything, word got out.

I think Henry probably always had elements of utter selfishness and paranoia in his personality (we see selfishness early in his reign when he'd rather party than rule, and obviously paranoia came nature and nurture from Henry VII) but I doubt anyone around him at the time he took his crown or earlier would have been able to guess he would have turned into the paranoid pig monster he eventually became.

People were WAY too excited, even people close around him, for him to have been a little sociopath, enjoying pain and death and torture, as a little kid.

Sorry for the rant. Tudor history is my first love, and I've read every biography I can get my hands on, and I'm also currently training to be a psychologist, and did not feel Sandra had a good enough hold on Henry VIII's character or what a sociopath looks like.

message 22: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Now I recall at one moment in the book Worth even described Henry and his piggy eyes when he was made about something. Just too stereo typed, like MAP said and from all I've read Henry was quite was not that way as a child, nor even in his young adulthood.

I used to read a lot of true crime, and Henry reminded me of all those serial killer/rapists in childhood from those books. The only "sympton" he didn't have was bed wetting and tearing animals into pieces.

message 23: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments I really don't mind when authors take artistic license with the little details because it is after all fiction. However, leaving out entire marriages with a member from the opposite team seems silly to me (Plaidy w/ Anne Neville).

I think we disliked this book for different reasons.

I really didn't mind the virginity check...I laughed out loud at your reaction though Pat! :0)

message 24: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Funny how we disliked it for different reasons, we can always agree to disagree or better yet react like Pat did!

I probably would have done better with the whole thing if the writing was halfway compelling. All that "woe" is me nonsense and the crappy sappy dialogue just did me in. Eeewwww when mom Woodivlle told Elizabeth to "lick" her husband to get what she wanted out of him. Yuck.

message 25: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Yes I did think "yuck" to that advice, but I'm smirking right now none the less!

message 26: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Has anybody seen a painting of Henry VII? I cannot imagine licking any part of a body attached to a face like that. He looks like he was suckled on vinegar.

Another thing - none of the painters of the fifteenth century seemed to be able to get the 'off' eye right when they did an official portrait. That has made we wonder why they all did three-quarter face poses. With their lack of technical skill, it would have been far easier to do full-face.

message 27: by MAP (last edited Jan 13, 2009 01:45PM) (new)

MAP | 181 comments Actually, for much of modern art history, straight-on angle of the face was exclusively used for portraying Christ. That's why Durer's face-front portrait of himself is so shocking.

message 28: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I did not know that and am ashamed since for much of my life I have been a professional portrait painter and painter of orthodox icons. Thank you for the information. I will not forget it now.

message 29: by MAP (last edited Jan 13, 2009 02:12PM) (new)

MAP | 181 comments Well, please look it up, for heaven's sake don't take my word for it. That's just what I was taught when taking a Northern Renaissance art class in college and we were studying Durer. But I've had art history professors get things wrong before. One prof spent the entire semester switching the meaning of the terms "sfumato" and "chiaroscuro" to the point that I had to pull out an old high school art history text book to make sure I wasn't nuts.

message 30: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments No, please don't think I was doubting you. That makes so much sense when I think about all the full-face icons I have painted, just going by the ancient rules with never a thought as to why for most of the stuff. That surely explains why painters did faces the hard way. It is notoriously tricky to get that 'off' eye into proper perspective. I learned the meanings of iconic colors and the items various saints carry, but not that the full face was a part of the divine likeness. Lovely! Again, I thank you.

message 31: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments Misfit wrote: "Funny how we disliked it for different reasons, we can always agree to disagree or better yet react like Pat did!

I probably would have done better with the whole thing if the writing was halfwa..."

The virginity check drove me crazy too. She doesn't like Elizabeth Woodville, which is her prerogative, but at least she could have come clean about the virginity check being her invention in the author's note. In her last novel, she had Elizabeth Woodville, as a lady in waiting to Margaret of Anjou, conniving to get Thomas Malory put into prison--it's not even certain that Elizabeth was a lady-in-waiting to Margaret, much less that she had anything to do with Malory's difficulties.

And what really drives me crazy is the scene in her first novel where she has poor William Hastings drugging and raping a virgin peasant girl, who dies of the effects of the drug. But I'm a Hastings fan.

message 32: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Susan, good to see you here at goodreads and joining our fledgling group. Can't wait until you and Ikon get debating, that should really liven things up.

I can't recall the scene with Hastings - was that in the second half where I was skimming to get it over with?

message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments Misfit wrote: "Susan, good to see you here at goodreads and joining our fledgling group. Can't wait until you and Ikon get debating, that should really liven things up.

I can't recall the scene with Hastings -..."

No, this was in her first novel, The Rose of York.

I should add that though I'm not a fan of Richard III, I don't have a litmus test as far as that goes. Some of my favorite novels, like The Sunne in Splendour, are highly sympathetic toward him. I don't agree with their interpretation of him, but I respect the authors because they worked with known facts and developed their conclusions from them, rather than inventing virginity tests and the like.

message 34: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Greetings, Susan. You are on the wrong swing of the pendulum. I have just finished reading Potter's non-fiction book concerning the way Richard's reputation has had its ups and downs over the five hundred years since his death. This is an 'up' period with approximately half a dozen books making their debut each year with Richard as a romantic hero. (I dislike that trend extremely.)

I remember that scene with Hastings and the girl. It was fairly nauseating and I, too, resented it on behalf of the man. BTW: do you think Richard had Hastings offed with suspicious speed or that there was at least a rump trial and the beheading occurred a week after the exposure of the plot?

message 35: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
"No, this was in her first novel, The Rose of York. "

Well, since I don't plan on reading any more from this author I guess I'll be missing that one. Whew.

message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments Ikonopeiston wrote: "Greetings, Susan. You are on the wrong swing of the pendulum. I have just finished reading Potter's non-fiction book concerning the way Richard's reputation has had its ups and downs over the fi..."

Richard as romantic hero and cuddly squeeze toy drives me crazy too. Though the last book I read, Emma Darwin's A Secret Alchemy, took an unromatic view of him (albeit he as a character appeared only a couple of times--the main characters were Anthony and Elizabeth Woodville).

I think Hastings died on June 13, 1483--i.e., with suspicious speed. Though I admit I've never had the energy to read all of the articles relating to the dating of his execution.

message 37: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I asked the question because at one place in The Daughter of Time, mention is made of a document which places the execution of Hastings one week after that fateful Friday the Thirteenth. I have been unable to find an independent source for this and hoped a Hastings fan like Susan might know of one.

And Susan, I found your blog "The Unromantic Richard III". It looks very intriguing. ;)

message 38: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments My memory of The Daughter of Time is fuzzy, but Alison Hanham back in the 1970's discussed a couple of documents--Simon Stallworth's letter to William Stonor on June 21 and minutes of a meeting of the London Mercers' Company--that she thought put the date on June 20 instead of June 13. I think it's generally accepted now, though, that the June 13 date is the correct one.

The Richard III Society has a nice summary of all of the debate on the dating issue here:

message 39: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I have read that the Stallworth letter could have referred to any time during the past week and is not to be relied upon. I think Tey meant the London Mercer's Company minutes but, reading the Society commentary, I think she used bad data in her novel on this point. Thank you for the pointers.

I have checked the Wilkinson book because it deals with a time of Richard's life which is of greatest interest to me. From the description on Amazon, it would appear to be a children's book. Is that correct? (The reading age is given as four to eight and history books for children are listed on the same page as this volume.)

message 40: by Susan (last edited Jan 16, 2009 02:13PM) (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments No, the Amazon description of the Wilkinson as a children's book is wrong. It's definitely for adults. It covers Richard's life through 1475. I'm finding it very good so far.

I got mine through Amazon UK--don't know if Amazon US is shipping them yet.

message 41: by MAP (new)

MAP | 181 comments Oh, the Unromantic Richard III blog! I have that saved in my favorite places. :) Welcome, Susan! I like your writing.

message 42: by Ikonopeiston (last edited Jan 16, 2009 02:22PM) (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Not until February. Barnes and Nobel is even worse. They have a shipping date of March.

Thanks for the information. I shall drift over to Amazon and pre-order posthaste. I wonder is the 'Young King" combination misled Amazon in their classification.

From the description, the book seems to take a fairly neutral stand, neither traditionalist nor revisionist. That would be an interesting schism to straddle.

message 43: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Ikon, if you order books from the UK check out The Book Depository. Free shipping to the US.

Susan, you and Ikon are going to have way too much fun here.

message 44: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Thank you Misfit. I have never ordered from the UK. Do they take US credit cards?

I did not realize this Susan was the one who wrote that delicious xmas letter. I read back into the archives of that blog for most of a long day. Lovely writing.

message 45: by Pat (last edited Jan 16, 2009 03:14PM) (new)

Pat | 39 comments Ikon, they do take US credit cards and the delivery time is faster than if shipped within the US. I have ordered several books from Book Depository when I couldn't wait for the US release. You'll have to check the exchange rate as it is always changing and sorry to say, the deals aren't as great as they used to be.

Maybe Susan knows the answer to this...why does it take so long for UK books to be released here is the US?

And yes, I read that xmas letter too, very enjoyable.

message 46: by Susan (last edited Jan 16, 2009 02:48PM) (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments Thanks for the blog compliments! This is a fun group!

From my skimming ahead, the Wilkinson book is fairly sympathetic to Richard, but not a whitewash. She's got a book on Mary Boleyn coming out as well, along with part 2 of the Richard III bio.

message 47: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Pat, I appreciate the information. I shall check out the exchange rates. It is not surprising to note that the delivery is so efficient. Our PO is not a paragon of excellence.

Susan, it sounds like the Wilkinson book is following the general tendency of books on the subject. I have noted that the non-fiction works of late have begun to show us a man of his times doing what men did in those times. I still giggle when I read that Richard was not nice and was probably a multiple murderer because he had two bastard children. Oy vey!

message 48: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
I see it's coming out in the US in February. I'm going to put in a purchase request at the library and see what happens.

Ikon, interesting tidbit about The Book Depository. The boss ordered a book through Amazon UK, paid his shipping, but the book came with packaging from TBD. Mr. Frugal could have ordered it direct and not paid the shipping costs.

message 49: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments Wish I knew about the delay between releases in the US and the UK! It drives me crazy, because there are so many books I find on Amazon UK that take forever to be released in the US. And neither Amazon UK nor the Book Depository likes my US debit card, so I have to beg a friendly family member for a credit card number whenever I want to order from overseas.

But it amazes me how quick shipping can be from the UK to the US. I've had books arrive in five days.

message 50: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments OK. I have ordered the book from the Book Depository. I almost blew it when registering. I put down the county instead of the state in the blank marked "county". Stupid me! Now I shall sit in the cold by the mail box, biting my nails and waiting.

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