Historical Fiction: Daughter of York, by Anne Easter Smith

3.0 out of 5 stars The Lady Margaret

Life in two medieval courts, those of England’s Yorkist King Edward IV and the Duke of Burgundy’s Charles the Bold, is the focus of Daughter of York. As the youngest sister of the King of England, Margaret has no life of her own, subject to the decisions of her brother, and later, her husband, a man she would never have chosen for herself. But duty prevails over the dictates of the heart, and Margaret becomes Duchess of Burgundy, wife of the brutish Charles. Unable to find happiness in her marriage, Margaret is forced to find solace elsewhere – in the loyalty of her favorite servant, the dwarf Fortunata, in the memory of her true love, the already married Anthony Woodville, in her devotion to the welfare of England, Burgundy, and the poor and sick, and in her genuine love for her stepdaughter Mary.

In vivid detail, Daughter of York chronicles Margaret’s personal and political experiences, as well as her on-again, off-again romance with the unattainable Anthony. What is missing from this long novel is movement, with the first third of the plot devoted to Margaret’s longing for a husband, and the rest devoted to her suffering with her dastardly, boorish husband and her unfulfilled hopes for a child.

Although her personal situation leaves much to be desired, Margaret has been well trained by her mother to political astuteness. Indeed, if this historical bio can be believed (the romance with Anthony is not based upon fact), her intelligence and diplomatic skills rival those of her more famous predecessor, Eleanor of Acquitaine. The novel has a cliffhanger of an ending, with a puppy and a promise of happiness to come. There must be a sequel in the offing.

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