Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review: The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason

Title: The King's Daughter
Author: Christie Dickason
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper & Collins, 2009

Elizabeth is the daughter of King James VI of Scotland who after the death of Elizabeth I succeeded to the English throne as James I. Unpopular in England, the story begins with the infamous Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to dethrone him in favour of his children Elizabeth and her brother Henry.

Elizabeth is only 9 but from that time she becomes aware of her father's distrust and suspicions and how she will have to struggle to find any hope of a happy future.

Very little is known about this period in Elizabeth's life but the author has created a very likeable and spirited young girl. Surrounded by women who are less than kind and with their own personal agendas she has only herself and Henry to rely on until she is given an Ethiopian slave girl, Tallie, destined to become her close friend and confidante........some one who will tell her the truth whether she likes it or not. Tallie is pure fiction but her presence provides a means for Elizabeth to express her real thoughts and emotions.

One was the daughter of a king; the other a slave. Both were for sale.

Who her father will 'sell' her off to is the permanent cloud that hangs over Elizabeth's head subjecting her to hours of humiliating scrutiny - Ten pairs of adult male eyes, including my father's chilly gaze, stared at me as if I were a greyhound or horse for sale - -and more long periods of standing while portraits are painted for those who can't attend personally including this one in 1606 by Robert Peake which is obviously the inspiration for a passage in the book.
This little girl is only 10 and seems to have been done up to look like a miniature Queen Elizabeth I ......' my hair had been tortured upward into a great domed sugar loaf in an attempt to make me look regal. I thought it made me look like a startled acorn.

While facts about Elizabeth may be scarce there is a great deal more known about many of the other characters. The strange, emotionally flawed James, the petulant Baby Charles (later Charles I), the king's favourite boy Robert Carr and the conniving Frances Howard, Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon all come vividly to life and against a well described background of London and Whitehall add historical substance. Most of the story is told in the first person by Elizabeth but there are also short first person pieces from some of these other characters throughout which adds interest and another viewpoint.

The story ends in 1613 with Elizabeth newly married to the Elector Palatine, Frederick V, and preparing to set sail to her new life. Her later life was to prove more eventful which leaves me wondering if, and hoping that , Christie Dickason plans a sequel.

Easy to read,entertaining and absorbing , I enjoyed this book very much.

Royal Reviews Historical Fiction Challenge

Darling Daughters Reading Challenge


  1. I have this book out from the library and I am looking forward to reading it! I enjoyed the previous books I had read by her as well. Have you read them?

  2. I really like the sound of this book. I haven't heard of it before but I will add it to my list.

  3. Marg - I noticed she had other books and was surprised I'd never seen them but I think that's probably because my old library didn't have them. One good thing about moving to a new town is a lovely new library to explore.I look forward to reading more of these and hope you enjoy this one.

    Alaine - I think it's fairly recent - hope you will find and enjoy.

  4. This does sounds good, I watched the 'Virgin Queen' mini series last week about Elizabeth I so this would be an interesting follow on to that.

  5. This looks real good - I've been missing hist fict so much!

  6. cool book. I'm not sure I've read much about the royals after Queen Elizabeth I. I think I shall add this to the list.

  7. I haven't heard of this one either. Great review it makes me want to read this one.