We have not traditionally had a lot of guest posts at Loaded Questions. But when I heard that our friend Sandra Worth had a new novel coming out, The King's Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen, I asked her to put together a guest post to give Loaded Questions readers a glimpse into the motivation and research that lead her to write a novel about the first Tudor Queen, Elizabeth of York.
Worth has been a friend of this blog in the past, stopping by last February to discuss the release of her novel Lady of the Roses. In that interview we discussed our mutual love of English history and Anya Seton.
My copy of The King's Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen arrived yesterday morning and as historian who has studied Tudor monarchical figures for the last couple of years I am really looking forward to see Sandra bring life to Elizabeth of York, a figure that has previously been overlooked by the more sensational people in her life: Richard III, Henry VII and her boisterous and powerful mother Margaret Beaufort. Sandra has assured me she brings some new research to the table and I can assure you that before the turkey hits the table later this afternoon I will have snuck to my bags to pull out my copy to see how far I can get before I am found out.
For those of you intrigued by this fascinating historian and author, here is a link to my interview with her last year. I look forward to reading the book and bringing you all the details next week. In the meanwhile, if you want your own copy Amazon.com has it available for pre sale at a very nice price.
Without further adieu...
THE KING'S DAUGHTER:A NOVEL OF THE FIRST TUDOR QUEEN is about Elizabeth of York who closed out the epilogue in the last book of my Rose of York trilogy. You may think there's not much more to learn about her than what you probably already know. But I'm here to tell you you're wrong! Her story is shocking, and amazing.
I know this sounds like a contradiction in terms—but what intrigued me most about Elizabeth is the lack of information on her. How can this be? Sister to the Princes in the Tower and mother to Henry VIII, the first Tudor queen lived at the epicenter of momentous events. So why does she hover unseen on the fringe of history? When you think about it, the question is downright tantalizingly strange. Why is so little known about Elizabeth when so much is known about everyone else around her—her husband, her children, even her mother-in-law?
The documentation that survives is so scanty that only a single biography has ever been attempted—and that author had to resort to novelistic techniques in order to fill in the gaps in Elizabeth’s life! As far as I’m aware, this is the first time a biography was ever handled this way. Armed with this seemingly useless clue, I set out on my journey to solve the mystery of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen.
I already knew some things, such as her relationship with her uncle, Richard III, which came down to this: Tudor propaganda has always claimed that Richard III murdered Elizabeth’s brothers—but did he? And was Elizabeth in love with her uncle?
If you haven’t read the trilogy, don’t worry—nothing is left out in THE KING’S DAUGHTER. Back to why Elizabeth is hidden when all the other Tudors are “in your face,” so to speak. Could the Tudors have kept her captive? If they did, what was the nature of the threat she posed to them? Did Elizabeth believe the Pretender, Perkin Warbeck, was really her lost brother, Richard, Duke of York? Around these questions are entwined other intriguing ones. Did Henry VII rape Elizabeth? Was he in love with the Pretender’s wife? What were his real reasons for subjecting the Pretender to the extraordinarily brutal torture that he used?
Like a detective on a cold case file, I mulled and pondered; I pored over the evidence with a medievalist friend, and went to England to roam the places Elizabeth had lived. I searched for anything from her time in museums and libraries. Suddenly, I began to notice details and references in historical texts that hadn’t meant much to me before. Here were clues! I re-read, looked again—yes, here were those clues, those hints, those little details in the body of research, new and old, that we’d all read before, and missed. The blanks in Elizabeth’s ,life slowly got filled, and the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle took shape. All at once—voila! There she was. I had her story.
Elizabeth tells her own tale in THE KING’S DAUGHTER, and it’s a thick brew of forbidden love, ambition and murder as we follow her from her turbulent childhood during the Wars of the Roses to her reluctant marriage to Henry Tudor that secured the Tudor dynasty. With her sacrifice and goodness, beautiful Elizabeth of York, “Elizabeth the Good”, the people’s Queen, finally achieved what she set out to do. She brought peace to the strife-torn land she loved, and did it with courage, grace, and dignity. She is a queen for the ages.
It was great fun piecing together the enigma of Elizabeth, the first Tudor Queen.
I hope you’ll find her story as much fun reading as I had writing it. One caveat, though. Two other novels are coming out entitled THE KING’S DAUGHTER, (one shortly after mine in December) so be sure you have my novel on Elizabeth. If you’d like to enter my drawing to win one of five copies of the book, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write me when you’ve read the book, if you have the inclination. I would love to know your thoughts. Meanwhile, happy reading, and Happy Holidays! May troubles pass, and the new year bring a new beginning.