Merrimon Book Reviews

Elizabeth of Scotland, Queen of Bohemia (1596 – 1662) was the eldest daughter of James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, and Ireland, and Anne of Denmark

James VI & I (1566 – 1625) was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567. On 24 March 1603, he also became King of England and Ireland as James I when he inherited the English crown

Frederick V
(1596 – 1632) was Elector Palatine (1610–23), and, as Frederick I, King of Bohemia (1619–20)

From Merrimon Book Reviews
The King's Daughter
The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason
by Christie Dickason

In THE KING'S DAUGHTER, Christie Dickason takes readers into the court of James I through the eyes of his daughter, Elizabeth Stuart.  James I seeks to use his children's marriage as a means to create political alliances to maintain peace in a Europe torn between Catholic and Protestant positions.  Within the court, cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon vie against one another.  As the king's daughter, Bacon's desire to ingratiate himself into the king's favor puts Elizabeth in a precarious position.  More deeply, within her heart, she is a woman who strives for some happiness and freedom in a world where her choices are limited by others.  When she meets her suitor Frederick, the Elector Palatine, Elizabeth feels hope for future happiness but her parents withdraw their support.  Elizabeth enlists the aid of Tallie, a slave girl, to help her find out more about the plans for her marriage.  Together, the two form a kind of friendship as each seeks more control and freedom over their individual lives.

THE KING'S DAUGHTER, Christie Dickinson joins historical detail with fictional imagination to explore the life of Elizabeth.  While bringing the history alive through the characters who surround Elizabeth, THE KING'S DAUGHTER also makes history personal through the mostly first person narrative told by Elizabeth herself.  The fictional creation of the slave girl Tallie brings out inner longings and sensibilities akin to modern readers.  Thematic parallels between the lives of the two women reinforce the lack of choices in women's lives and their longing for self-determination.  Their friendship brings out the character of Elizabeth, especially as she longs for honesty in conversation, as well as the danger and drama of court life.  Some of the scenes while perhaps lacking plausibility nevertheless serve to create a glimpse at the lives of women's coming of age and sexual knowledge in an age quite different than our own.  Christie Dickason does not shy away from the topic of sexuality in this historical novel.  Some of the dialogue is less delicate than a typical historical novel.  At first slightly jolting, the directness is at times refreshing.  The villainous portrait of Francis Bacon chills, especially if one's familiarity with his historical personage comes chiefly from philosophy.  THE KING'S DAUGHTER brings together history, romance, and suspenseful action in a flowing prose style that brings a reader directly into the time period.   Kudos to Christie Dickason for opening a period of history to historical fiction lovers that is less thoroughly explored as some of currently popular releases.  I would recommend THE KING'S DAUGHTER to readers who are historical fiction fans and those wanting to explore the genre.  The combination of historical detail and modern themes makes THE KING'S DAUGHTER easily accessible to readers who crave history with portraits of women with whom one can more easily identify.

Harper (November 23, 2010)

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