The Daughter of Time,
by Josephine Tey
I read this book for our August book club meeting. It’s also a suggested fiction title recommended for my daughters in the curriculum we follow, for their junior or high school years.
I’ve also seen this book recommended for book clubs, as one which ensues good conversation.
Not a bad book at.all. It did spark my imagination, it entertained me. It was a bit simplistic, though. I now understand the quibble that my Presbyterian friend has with the book (and, nonetheless, she also appreciated it for what it is). In its mention of events in history that did not occur how our text books say they did, the two Margarets, known as the Wigtown Martyrs, are said to be the opposite, part of a violent group attacking those who did not observe their faith. I’m not sure the lives of those two women can be so overly simplified as in this book.
A conflict always has two sides, and history sometimes overemphasizes one to the detriment, and even false portrayal of the other. Plus events and people become legendary, and we have to understand them in the confines of that society for which they are emblematic. But the book wasn’t a treaty, nor a doctorate paper, lol, so its faults should be seen in the confines of a novel with a slant, with a theory about something that we will never know how it happened.
The book was an exercise on observation, a fun book about history fans, about those with inquisitive minds (a mature Scotland Yard investigator bored at hospital, a young American chum, and the nurses and women around them, who visit the inspector, and who take care of him and give him books to pass the time. Martha shows up with a portrait of Richard III, and the book plot starts. Now Alan Grant is on a quest to decide if Richard III was the horrible murderer of those two young princes in the Tower as history claims he was.)
There’s many nice elements, the humor and banter, the historical research, the logic. I liked Tey’s portrayal of the young American in contrast with the old Brit. I also like the spirit of research it embodies, the spirit of questioning, its proposal to look at the actions of people and at their character to understand them better.
My friend Susan read another title by her she liked even more, not historical, but wonderful suspense, it’s called The Franchise Affair. I want to read that one too, no doubt. (They are all part of her detective series, but they are also stand alone books.)
Last word, the poor book had the misfortune of coming after finishing The Gray House. It seems such a ‘small’ book in comparison, (not that it’s bad, but any book coming after The Gray House is meant to look so tiny, like an appetizer that is coming after a full course meal.)
I recommend it!