Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Review: The Last Daughter of York by Nicola Cornick

by Nicola Cornick
Release Date: November 16, 2021
2021 Graydon House
Kindle Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978-1525806452
ASIN: B08RW464N7
Audiobook: B09584WPTM
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

In the winter of 1483, Francis Lovell is Richard III’s Lord Chamberlain and confidant, but the threat of Henry Tudor’s rebels has the king entrusting to Francis and his wife, Anne, his most crucial mission: protecting the young Richard of York, his brother’s surviving son and a threat to Henry’s claims to the throne.

In the present day, Serena Warren has been haunted by her past ever since her twin sister, Caitlin, disappeared. But when Caitlin’s bones are discovered interred in a church vault that hasn’t been opened since the eighteenth century, the police are baffled. Piecing together local folklore that speaks of a magical relic with her own hazy memories of the day Caitlin vanished, Serena begins to uncover an impossible secret that her grandfather has kept hidden, one that connects her to Anne, Francis and the young Duke of York.
My Thoughts
The Last Daughter of York was a fun, easy fantastical read about what could have happened to young Richard of York.  I have always been fascinated by the disappearance of the boys, and enjoy reading some of the theories that exist about their possible fates. This book explores the fate of young Richard in a fantastical way, and although not the slightest bit believable, was quite enjoyable.  And although I don't think the boys survived, there has always been a part of me that hoped that someone whisked them to safety and one day we would learn they actually lived their lives in obscurity, having escaped tragedy.
To be honest, I may be doing this book a disservice as I am getting a bit tired of the dual time line thing. It could also be where my interest lies as well as I just wasn't as interested in the present-day story line as I thought it was fairly repetitive and didn't have the tension that is necessary in a mystery.  Plus, the whole Caitlin thing just kind of petered out in the end, and I was somewhat disappointed in the solution considering the story that was set up.  Unfortunately, I did kind of rush those sections to get back to Francis Lovell's story as I thought that was the more interesting of the two, especially as his story is not one that is usually discussed so I wanted to learn more about him.  And I don't know how others feel, but I also think that memory loss is sort of a weak plot strategy, especially one that suddenly returns because you see the man of your dreams again. Umm, no!  

While I did think the overall plot was weak, I did enjoy the descriptions and felt like I was there with the characters. I won't say I was crazy about the present-day characters, but I certainly enjoyed the characters from the past, especially Anne Fitzhugh, about whom little is known in reality.  She is related to the Nevilles, another fascination of mine, as well as the Earl of Warwick.  Ok, I am just fascinated by this era, period.  And I am much more sympathetic towards Richard III than I used to be so I was curious as to how he would be portrayed in this novel.  The book doesn't really deal with Richard III, nor does it discuss exactly who the real threats are politically, and while it doesn't make light of it all exactly, I don't think it really does a good job explaining how serious the situation was either. However, I do like how the author showed how important women were to the cause and the role they played.

The Last Daughter of York was exactly that, fun, light, easy.  If you are looking for a more in-depth learning experience about this time period, you will not get it in this book. The plot holes are actually quite big, and there was little discussion about how Richard and Francis fared when they actually did time travel.  However, I did enjoy the book enough to pretty much read it in one sitting, once I got past the implausibles and improbables of the story lines.  Personally, I wish the whole book had been about Anne and Francis. 




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