Sunday, March 27, 2011

The King's Daughter

I just finished this book The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason. I was excited to read this because she is a new author to me, and the cover looked exciting lol. This book is about King James I, the son of Mary Queen of Scots. She was executed by her cousin Queen Elizabeth; her son also helped sign her death warrant. He was only a toddler at the time, but his children would always fear him for having helped kill his own mother.

James I was a loud, abrasive drunk who often left events in the middle of them. He was scary to his children and not very kind. The people didn't seem to particularly like him either. His wife was estranged, partly due to the fact that he had a boyfriend. He had three children; Henry, Elizabeth and little Charles. This book mostly follows Elizabeth the second oldest. She is raised far from Court with her guardians Harringtons. She always felt like a burden because they had to pay for everything for her and keep her safe. Once when she was little she was out in the woods and a man tried to kidnap her. She was able to talk her way out of it. Later she heard that there was a plot to overthrow the King. A group of men were rumored to kidnap Elizabeth so as to put her on the throne over her father.

Another reason her father King James was so unfriendly was because he feared his own children. He knew the people loved his son Henry, and always feared a rebellion or plot to put him on the throne. His children were loyal to their father but the King always feared an assassination or plot. Most royalty had to deal with some kind of plots or such, especially King James because he was from Scotland. He was not a true Englishman, and neither were his children. They were the successor of Queen Elizabeth, cousins. King James I always feared people would rush to put a true Englishman on the throne.

The author has an interesting way of writing, sometimes it made it hard to get through the book. She really delved into her characters, almost so much so that it got intense at times. She would sometimes write on different characters' points of view. She mainly remained with Elizabeth, but sometimes delved into Henry, her slave or even the King. After this attempt to kidnap Elizabeth came to light, the King sent her to Court to witness the killings of these men. As they took turns at the noose, she became worried that they would reveal that they had seen her. But thankfully they died without implicating her. The King cruelly made his daughter watch this, so she would never think of taking the throne from her father. She never wanted to, but he kept his children in fear nonetheless.

Also around this time, Elizabeth heard that her brother Henry's life could be in danger. She sent a secret letter to him with a trusted servant. He never came back and she feared for his life, and that of her letter. It could also be viewed as treason. As she came closer to teenage hood, the King ordered for her to be sent to Court. She moved there and instantly had ladies in waiting to assist her. Her mother wouldn't visit her, but sent her a black servant to help her. Her name was Thalia Bristo and she was very talented with the lute. Elizabeth reluctantly let her into her service. They eventually became fast friends; Thalia was always there to help Elizabeth in anyway she could. Many of the Court did not like Thalia because she was black. There was still a lot of prejudice at the time towards them.

Elizabeth tried to visit with her mother to help reconnect. Finally she was let in, but her mother Queen Anne was cold and not very welcoming. Her mother told her over the years her heart had hardened, because her children were taken away from her at an early age. She also lost a son and two daughters. She counseled Elizabeth to never get too close to anyone, even her own children, because they would always leave. Elizabeth left very confused and sad. She vowed to never be like her mother. Soon her marriage was in negotiation, and she used Thalia to spy for her and find out who. Years passed and still negotiations were under way. She became stressed most of the time, wondering what was going to happen to her.

Elizabeth was very close to her brother Henry, and they shared their thoughts. She soon found out he was meeting secretly with the King's advisor Cecil. He wasn't trying to overthrow the King, he was just trying to learn all he could before taking the throne one day. Eventually he became very sick, and slowly died of poison. No one saw the signs until it was too late. She never got to see his brother before he died, they kept her away. People mourned him greatly, he was much liked and favored. Elizabeth soon began to suspect her father of killing his own son. The doubts ate at her, as well as the marriage negotiations. Her life didn't seem very happy.

Soon Frederick came to Court, the Elector Palantine. People spoke of a marriage between the Thames and Rhine, a Catholic alliance which pleased her father. Before her brother Henry died, he had suggested she marry him. Elizabeth found that she liked him quite well, and wished to marry him. Her father tormented her and kept it on hold for some time. He tried sending Frederick away, but she fought back. Soon Frederick became a favorite of her father. Eventually they did marry, and all seemed well. Her younger brother Charles was now next in line to the throne since her brother had died. He became vicious and mean to her, distant.

Before able to leave Court, Elizabeth was threatened by her father's new advisor since Cecil had died, Francis Bacon (cousin to Cecil). She found out that he most likely had killed her brother from jealousy, and would possibly even get rid of her favorite servant Thalia. In order to protect her, Elizabeth sent her away to the Americas. Thalia was a fictional character, but an interesting one. It was nice to see that Elizabeth was close to someone. Eventually Elizabeth and her husband Frederick were able to leave Court to start their new life together. In the epilogue it says that Elizabeth was not written into history journals. Most of the events of her life were guessed at. Her brother Charles later led England into civil war, and had his head chopped off. Elizabeth's life is not mentioned further.

I liked this book overall because it showed me into another person's interesting life. I would like to think she went on and lived a happy life. I always wondered who had succeeded Queen Elizabeth and how well they did.

Rating: PG13 for a page of a love scene. Skip over. No swearing.

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