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The King's Daughter: A Novel by…

The King's Daughter: A Novel (2009)

by Christie Dickason

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13119141,391 (3.61)18
The court of James I is a dangerous place, with factions led by warring cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon. While Europe seethes with conflict between Protestants and Catholics, James sees himself as a grand peacemaker -- and wants to make his mark by trading his children for political treaties.Henry, Prince of Wales, and his sister, Elizabeth, find themselves far more popular than their distrusted father, a perilous position for a child of a jealous king. When Elizabeth is introduced to one suitor, Frederick, the Elector Palatine, she feels the unexpected possibility of happiness. But her fate is not her own to choose -- and when her parents brutally withdraw their support for the union, Elizabeth must take command of her own future, with the help of an unexpected ally, the slave girl Tallie, who seeks her own, very different freedom.… (more)



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Historical fiction set in the world of King James I of England. His daughter is the protagonist, and a large portion of the plot revolves around James's rocky relationship with his family, and his attempts to select a suitable marriage for his daughter, who is strong-willed, independent, and horrified by most of her suitors. The plot moves well and can hold interest. It is not a romance, but more a study of family and political dynamics in 17th century England. An additional bonus is the author details in an appendix exactly which characters she made up and which are real, and also gives a brief run down of what is known about the court. She has tried to keep the situations, and the fictional charaters, true to the nature of the time. ( )
  Devil_llama | Aug 21, 2015 |
I read this for the Just For Fun Challenge which encourages reading one book that has been on the TBR shelf for a long time and without doing a review. I still rated this book though and I loved it. ( )
  Carolee888 | Jun 30, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In the court of King James I of England, no one is safe from the whims of the paranoid, jealous, and unpredictable King-not even his children Prince Henry of Wales and daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth longs for the approval and affection of her father but as she grows into young womanhood she soon comes to realize she serves only one person in her father's eyes-to be used as a pawn in the marriage market to secure his dream of being the Great Peacemaker by using his children to unite the Catholics and Protestants. After being subjected to several humiliating audiences where she is paraded in front of potential suitors Elizabeth becomes determined to make her own destiny instead of waiting around for her father to marry her off and ship her away from her beloved brother and England. Her resolve strengthens when she meets Frederick, the Elector Palatine, the one suitor out of all she thinks she can be happy with. Elizabeth now must figure out how to outwit her father to end up with the man she loves. Her one ally is Tallie, a slave girl bought for Elizabeth by the Queen who yearns for her freedom. The Princess and the slave girl join together in the bond of friendship as both hope to achieve their happy endings.

This is the first book I recall that focuses on one of the Stuarts. The first 100 pages or so introduces us to Elizabeth and her brother Henry and the Gunpowder plot whose aim was to kill James I, kidnap Elizabeth, and put her on the throne in his place. I found this section of the novel to be very slow moving and was having an extremely difficult time getting into the novel at this point. It wasn't until Elizabeth was moved to court and the slave girl Tallie entered the picture that the book picked up. Tallie was a very interesting character-unwilling to reveal her past on the streets of Southwark and completely reluctant to trust Elizabeth. The strong point of the story was watching their friendship grow as Tallie spied on behalf of Elizabeth and became the only person the lonely Princess could rely on to tell her absolutely anything she wanted to know-including what relations between men and women really involved. Tallie provided the spark in this book. You couldn't help but feel sorry for Elizabeth-paraded before insensitive diplomats and boorish suitors while dealing with her insanely jealous father who thought everything was a plot to dethrone him. It was not an enviable relationship. Elizabeth's love story with Frederick and her quest to marry him was fairly well done. They seemed to develop a pretty strong connection to each other rather quickly.

There were several problem areas in this book in addition to the first 1/4 being slowly paced and not really interesting. The main issue for me were the supporting characters. Elizabeth adores her brother Prince Henry but he wasn't really developed all that well. Neither is her mother Anne of Denmark. Other characters seemed off to me. James was portrayed as highly intelligent but also spent much of the book as a drunken lout who was more concerned with fawning over the pretty boys in his court and hunting than ruling. Basically in this version he left all the hard work to Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon who duked it out for power. Although he would be no means win a Mr. Congeniality or father of the year award, there were some redeeming qualities about the man and his reign wasn't entirely bad. This doesn't show here though. James is just the villain here. I had the same problem with Elizabeth's younger brother Charles (later Charles I). He goes from being baby Charles the inconsequential and somewhat slow child to an overindulged brat a few years down the line. I found myself thinking "This kid becomes the future king???).

Overall it was an interesting once it got going and Tallie was introduced but I'm still on the fence as to whether it was good enough to slog through the first hundred pages in order to get to the better parts. Some books if you stick with them long enough end up being exceptional once they pick up the pace. This one was just alright even when it got going. I look forward to reading more on the Stuart family, particularly Elizabeth. I just didn't care for how they were portrayed here. ( )
1 vote hpelke02 | May 12, 2011 |
The King's Daughter tells the story of James I's oldest daughter Elizabeth. While Elizabeth knows that she's spent her entire life preparing for the marriage market, she dreads the day when she'll be married off to the wealthiest and most beneficial suitor. Elizabeth is constantly paraded in front of marriage brokers and threatened to be shipped off to another country. She longs for freedom, but is forced to battle the brutal politics of court while finding a path in life that makes her happy.

Now, I'll admit that I was happy to have something a little different here. Instead of exploring the constantly-discussed world of Tudor England, author Christie Dickason instead uses the daughter of James I of the Stuarts, who was Elizabeth Tudor's Scottish successor.

But, The King's Daughter is just as confusing and pointless as it sounds. From the moment I started the book up until the very end, I felt like I was fighting a constant uphill battle with myself. Frankly, I just didn't want to keep reading. The writing was fairly amateur, the setting was incredibly blurry, the dialog felt a little out-of-period and I constantly felt like the plot had no real goal.

I really hate to be so harsh here. I mean -I really wanted to like this book. Heck, I even ordered it all the way from England to give it a whirl, but it just didn't work for me. In fact, I feel like I finished the book just to justify the fact that I spent money on it.

Yeah....hard to believe, but give this one a miss. ( )
  BookAddictDiary | Mar 19, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason is a novel about Elizabeth, the daughter of King James I of England. The novel covers Elizabeth's youth, concluding with her marriage to Frederick V.

Although I am an avid reader of historical fiction, I admittedly tend to gravitate toward novels about the Tudors. I've never read a book about any of the Stuarts before. I found this novel to be an enjoyable introduction to the Stuarts. It definitely makes me want to read more about this fascinatingly dysfunctional family.

I found some of the relationships, particulary the relationship between Elizabeth and her elder brother Henry, to be well developed and fascinating. Through her writing, Ms. Dickason made the special bond between these two believable and heartwarming. However, I didn't find the relationship between Elizabeth and her black servant Tallie to be very believable. Elizabeth's attitude toward Tallie seemed to be too modern and PC to be believable for the era. The general attitude in those days toward such servants was much less genial.

Though Ms. Dickason did a good job of making James I an extraordinarily unlikeable antagonist, I found his character to be too one dimensional to feel real. Everyone has some good in them, no matter how disagreeable and cruel they can be. However, the reader was never given a glimpse of any remotely redeeming characteristics James I may have had.

I also found some of the scenes to be far-fetched, such as the scene where Elizabeth and Tallie dress as men and sneak out to Southwark to visit a brothel. Surely, with so many people at court, one person at least would have recognized the disguised princess, or at the very least known her and her companion for women. Even if they could have managed to evade detection, I have a hard time believing that a princess would sneak out to run off to such a base and lowly place.

All that being said, I did thoroughly enjoy this novel for the most part. Every step of the way, my heart ached for the young Elizabeth and all the trials she was put through. Being treated as little more than chattel to be sold to the highest bidder by a cold and uncaring father would be a horrifying and heartbreaking ordeal for any young woman to go through.

I would definitely recommend this novel to any historical fiction lovers. ( )
  Crittercrazyjen | Feb 28, 2011 |
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"Today I learned what I am."
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Superb historical novel of the Jacobean court, in which Princess Elizabeth strives to avoid becoming her father's pawn in the royal marriage market The court of James I is a volatile place, with factions led by warring cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon. Europe is seething with conflict between Protestants and Catholics. James sees himself as a grand peacemaker -- and what better way to make his mark than to use his children in marriage negotiations? Into this court come Henry, Prince of Wales, and his sister Elizabeth. Their louche father is so distrusted that soon they are far more popular than he is: an impossibly dangerous position. Then Elizabeth is introduced to Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine. He's shy but they understand one another. She decides he will be her husband -- but her parents change their minds. Brutally denied Henry's support, how can Elizabeth forge her own future? At once a love story, a tale of international politics and a tremendous evocation of England at a time of great change, this is a landmark novel to thrill all lovers of fine historical fiction.
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