Sunday, March 14, 2021

Daughter of the White Rose

Zahler, Diane. Daughter of the White Rose
February 16th 2021 by Holiday House
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In the late 1400s, Nell Gould is the daughter of a butcher. She was born on the same day as Edward the Fifth (Ned); the queen even sent her own doctor to attend Nell'smother when she struggled, and the two remained close. Nell's father became the royal butcher, with the task of feeding 73 people at the castle. Nell is allowed to play with Ned and his sisters, and her younger brother Toby befriends the young prince Dickon. When the prince goes off to school and writes her a letter, she begs to be allowed to read. She'd really like to learn Latin, like the prince, but it's not something that girls studied at the time, although her father is able to call upon a friend to teach her. All is not well in England, however, and the evil Richard the third is much too involved in the princes' fate. Ned's sisters are all betrothed, and even Dickon is used as a pawn, but when his father dies and he is king, things become very bad. He and Dickon are put into the Tower of London to await their fate. Nell and Toby are allowed to visit them, and things quickly deteriorate. End notes and a timeline help to give readers a clearer picture of the historical events and explain that Nell is fictional. 
Strengths: This had a lot of very exciting scenes, and moved very quickly. I don't have a lot of books set during this time period, and I recently had a student read all of the Carolyn Meyer Young Royals books, and I didn't have much else to hand her. Zahler's fairy tale books are very popular, and this was a really well constructed and engaging look at the events surrounding the death of these two young princes. 

I felt like I should have known more history, and kept trying to keep all of the historical figures straight. I should have just read it for fun. 
What I really think: One of my very favorite books when I was in middle school was Elizabeth Kyle's Princess of Orange (1966), which is no longer on my shelves. Daughter of the White Rose reminded me strongly of this book, so I think I'm going to have to buy it. I have a slowly growing group of readers who like historical fiction, and the cover is gorgeous. (Also, my daughter is named Eleanor and goes by Nell!)
 Ms. Yingling


  1. This sounds good, and I too read Princess of Orange (my ex-lib copy may be the actual one I read as a child - I think the book hinted that William cheated on her; jerk - think how different things would have been if they had had children). I read all the books of Kyle's my library had but this was my favorite which is why I was so mad when The First Churchhills was on TV and my mother explained it was about Sarah, the princesses' ambitious friend and I was not old enough to watch it. PBS has never repeated it, so far as I know.

    Another current author who writes historicals for this age group is Mary Hooper

  2. This sounds really good. I really like books set in the Middle Ages, like Karen Cushman's wonderful books. I haven't read Princess of Orange, but that sounds good as well.
    Thanks for featuring this!