Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
History is full of characters with little or no information on their personal and professional lives. This includes many in the royal families of Europe. For an historian, this can be very frustrating. For a fiction writer, it can be viewed as a canvas that has just a few brush strokes on it. This proves to be the case in Anne Easter Smithís book, Daughter of York.
Smithís book creates a world of Margaret of Burgundy that few know anything about. Historians know she was Edward IVís sister as well as Richard IIIís. She was given in marriage to Charles of Burgundy. It is known that she died childless and a widow. Very little else in known which gives Smith a very large canvas to work with.
Daughter of York is a moving tale of unobtainable love, duty, and honor. I found myself crying during many of the emotional scenes I encountered. The book draws on many historical figures such as the York family, the Burgundy family members, and William Caxton who was favored by Margaret in his printing endeavors. Smith uses the historical figures in Margaretís life that scholars know about while bringing in many interesting fictional ones that help shape the character of the princess/duchess.
The pros of the book are numerous. Located in the front of the book is a list of characters with the fictional ones noted as well as a family tree of the Plantagenet family which includes both the Lancastrians and the Yorks. I used the family tree quite often as I read to verify my connections of family members and to help get my mind around the historical aspects I was familiar with. There is also included a glossary of terms and a section of discussion questions that work great with book clubs.
What are the cons? The 557 page book ends with a cliffhanger. Well, maybe not a cliffhanger, but it leaves you with many things left undone. The author does apologize for this in her note after the last chapter is read.
Who will like this book? Anyone who likes history, fiction, romance, adventure, and a little mystery. Who will not be too partial to this book? Anyone who expects fiction books to be historically accurate in every detail. Smith keeps with the history that is known, but there is too much of Margaret of Burgundyís life that historians can feel confident about.
A great book that will keep you reading and actually get you wondering more of the history behind the story.
Disclaimer: This book was purchased by the author with her own funds.