Daughter of the White Rose

Holiday House. Feb. 2021. 256p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823446070.
Gr 4-6–Twelve-year-old Nell Gould narrates this engrossing medieval tale that reimagines the fate of royal princes Edward “Ned” and Richard “Dickon,” imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1483 by their ruthless uncle Richard III. Nell’s father is a butcher for the royal family, and Nell grows up happily playing with the royal children. Nell’s mother dies after giving birth to Nell’s brother Toby, born the same day as the Queen’s son Richard. Nell’s life changes when nine-year-old Ned goes away to learn his kingly duties and Nell realizes the princesses have outgrown her. Since she’s a commoner and can never marry Ned, Nell wants to become educated. Her father hires a printer to teach her to read and write English, and young Jacob, a printer’s inker, offers to teach her Latin. Edward IV dies and Ned becomes king at age 12. When ambitious Richard imprisons Ned and Dickon in the Tower, Nell must figure out how to save them. The story starts a little slowly but picks up steam and intensity toward the end. Nell is a fiercely determined girl who faces loss and disappointment but is stronger for it. She’s empowered to learn to read and write and even imagines she might become a writer one day. An author’s note provides additional information about the real royal princes. All characters present as white.
VERDICT Readers who love historical fiction featuring strong female characters and suspenseful court intrigue will enjoy this story that’s perfect for fans of Karen Cushman, Tamora Pierce, and Diane Magras.

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