History tells us that the intelligent, wealthy, and powerful Margaret of York had everything any woman could want, except for love. The acclaimed author of A Rose for the Crown takes us between the lines of history and into her heart.
It is 1461: Edward, son of Richard of York, ascends to the throne, and his willful sister, Margaret, immediately becomes a pawn in European politics as Edward negotiates her marriage. The young Margaret falls deeply in love with Anthony Woodville, the married brother of Edward's queen, Elizabeth. But Edward has arranged for his sister to wed Charles, son of the Duke of Burgundy, and soon Margaret is setting sail for her new life. Her official escort: Anthony Woodville. Margaret of York eventually commanded the respect and admiration of much of Europe, but it appears to history that she had no emotional intimate. Anne Easter Smith's rare gift for storytelling and her extensive research reveal the love that burned at the center of Margaret's life, adding a new dimension to the story of one of the fifteenth century's most powerful women.
Discussion Questions 1. How do the deaths of Margaret's father, Richard, and her brother, Edmund, impact the political fortunes of the York family? What might Margaret's recurring nightmares of the Micklegate symbolize? To what extent is Margaret's mother, Cecily, responsible for holding the family together in the aftermath of Richard's death, and what does her absence from Edward's court suggest about her feelings about her son's rule? 2. How would you characterize Margaret's relationships with each of her brothers -- Edward, Richard, and George? Whom does she most trust, and whom does she most love? In what respects does Margaret act as a surrogate mother to her siblings, and to what extent are her fears for them realized? 3. "Each time she was with Edward in public, her eyes would scan the groups of courtiers for Anthony Woodville....[s]he had tried to put him from her mind in the two years since Edward was crowned." What initially draws Margaret to Anthony Woodville, and how does the fact of his marriage to Eliza Scales impact Margaret's feelings about him? Given that Edward seems to encourage the flirtation between his sister and one of his most trusted advisers, why do Margaret and Anthony go to such lengths to conceal their mutual attraction? 4. How does the arrival of Fortunata change Margaret's opinion of court life? Why does Fortunata succeed in becoming Margaret's most trusted confidante in Burgundy, and how does she disappoint her mistress most grievously? In what respects does their relationship seem to deviate from the typical one between mistress and maid, and how do others at court register their feelings about this breach of custom? 5. How does Margaret feel about her arranged marriage to Charles of Burgundy compared to her former intended, Dom Pedro? Why does Edward assign Anthony Woodville to escort Margaret on her journey to her new home? How is Margaret's marriage important to the growing political power of England? In what way is Margaret's wedding night predictive of the nature of her physical relationship with Charles? 6. How does the court at Burgundy compare to Edward's court in England? Why does Margaret feel especially alienated in her new home? How does her stepdaughter, Mary, help Margaret adjust to her new responsibilities and duties as duchess of Burgundy? To what extent do Margaret's feelings of unhappiness seem to stem from her inability to bear a child to term? 7. How is literature -- and poetry in particular -- significant to the characters in Daughter of York? With their frequent allusions to Arthurian characters like Lancelot and Elaine, how are Margaret and Anthony able to redefine their largely unrequited romantic relationship? 8. What does the end of the novel imply about Margaret and Anthony's future together? Why do you think the author chose to end the novel on this note? What do you think sustained Margaret's interest in Anthony over the course of so many years? 9. Of the many scenes in Daughter of York, which did you find most moving or memorable? Why? Which of the characters in the novel did you find most intriguing or compelling? Why? Enhance Your Book Club 1. Would you like to know more about Anne Easter Smith, the author of Daughter of York? Visit her official website, http://www.AnneEasterSmith.com/default.html, to learn more about her commitment to both the performing arts and historical fiction. If your book club is interested in connecting with Anne for a telephone conference call, send her an email at anne@AnneEasterSmith.com to check her availability, or just to let her know your thoughts about Daughter of York. 2. When Margaret returns from her years in Burgundy and is received at her brother's court, Edward arranges for a royal feast that includes some of the family's favorite foods, including his mother's beloved oysters, flampaynes, and porpoise -- not forgetting Margaret's own favorite rose-petal jam. What foods would your family reunion include, and which dishes would especially satisfy the most finicky members of your family? Your book club might want to discuss favorite family recipes and share them at a future gathering. 3. Are you intrigued by the lavish region of Burgundy described in Daughter of York? Did you know that the lands encompassed by Burgundy in the medieval era now include France, Belgium, and the Netherlands? If you're considering making a trip to tour medieval Burgundy, you will want to visit http://www.inenuitmechelen.be/en/ to read more about Mechelen (Malines), the city where Margaret of York lived following Charles's death, and where she died in 1503. 4. If you would like to research further into Margaret's family and the people and events around the Wars of the Roses, visit the Richard III Society's website at: www.r3.org.
A native of England, Anne Easter Smith has lived in the United States for more than forty years. She was the features editor at a newspaper in New York State and now lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with her husband, Scott. You can visit her website at AnneEasterSmith.com.
"Enjoyable, beautifully researched -- a vivid portrait of one of history's most enigmatic women." -- Diana Gabaldon, author of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade
"A sweeping, romantic novel.... With consummate skill, Anne Easter Smith has created a delightful heroine, spirited, plucky, and wise. A remarkable achievement." -- Sandra Gulland, author of the Josephine B. Trilogy
"Here is the richly imagined life of Margaret of York -- a woman who dares to dream of love in a world where she is allowed only the role of political pawn." -- Judith Mererkle Rileyey, author of The Water Devil
"Anne Easter Smith knows how to deliver a journey of the heart." -- Sandra Worthrth, author of Lady of the Roses