23 November 2014

The Queen's Daughter

Author: Susan Coventry
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

I am going to openly admit my ignorance right off the bat by saying I didn't realize this novel was historical fiction until I read the Author's Note.  I've never heard of Joan before, but if Coventry's story even hints at reality, she certainly had an interesting life.

The Queen's Daughter is a rather hard novel to engross yourself in, which is why I couldn't rate it any better than I did.  It took me nearly a month to read, while I started and finished several books in the meantime.  There is no underlying plot to the story except that it tells the story of Joan's life.  The novel starts when Joan is only about eight years old.  And though the novel only spans 370 pages in length, it covers her life well into her mid to late twenties.  That is a lot of story to handle in one novel.  While a lot happens in the book, to cover such a long time span the vast majority of it is barely glimpsed at most of the time, while the story focuses mainly on Joan's marriage.  And while it was certainly interesting, it was hardly the most exciting part of the story.

I also felt that The Queen's Daughter was severely watered down in order to make it a one off novel instead of a series, and to address it towards the young adult crowd instead of adult historical fiction.  I think Coventry would have been much better off flushing the story with details, really diving into the parts she may have glossed over in passing in the novel.

That being said, adding more detail early on might have deterred me from finishing the book at all.  As it stood, I didn't really get hooked into the story where I could read more than a chapter in a single seating until I was a good halfway to two thirds of the way done.  And after such a rough life and rather unhappy marriage, while you would hope Joan would finally find happiness in her life towards the end, I saw the ending as a fluffy wish fulfillment conclusion.

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