The Daughter of Time: a brief review

Recently I wrote a blog entry about the best books I’ve read this year. I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me to include The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, even though I read it just a few weeks ago. I guess it didn’t make a big impression on me. However, I did like it, so here’s my review.

The main character, a mid-20th century police officer, is bedridden due to a back injury. To pass the time he researches a famous mystery of royal history: Did English king Richard III kill his nephews, who disappeared from the Tower of London in 1483?

I don’t think I’m giving away too much by saying that the author builds a case in Richard’s defense, since it’s obvious from the earliest pages that she sympathizes with him. After reading this book I understand why Richard III has so many defenders today (and I’m sure this book influenced a lot of them).

The main character does almost nothing except read books, think about books, talk about history, and think about history. (Hey — that sounds like my life!) The author makes this limited storyline interesting because, well, reading and thinking about history is interesting. It’s fun to see that reflected in fiction.

People rave about how great this book is, and at first I wondered why. It’s good, I enjoyed it, but it hasn’t changed my life or anything. Maybe some people love it because it introduced them to the love of history. And that’s an exciting thing. So if you think history is boring, read “The Daughter of Time.” Maybe it really will change your life.

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