Book Group: The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

daughter of time

Last month my book group discussed The Daughter of Time, a 1951 mystery novel with a twist. Inspector Grant is in the hospital with a back injury, bored out of his mind, when a friend brings him an intriguing case: Did Richard III really murder his young nephews, the famous “Princes in the Tower”?

Using as many primary sources as he can have his friends track down he goes about breaking apart the case in his mind and comes to the conclusion that Richard III was very different from the king portrayed by Shakespeare and in popular history.

I thought this book would generate a hearty discussion and it mostly did. However, about half of the group had never heard of Richard III and, therefore, the emotional impact of Grant’s deductions didn’t hit them as hard as it did others. I think this book would be more suited to book groups whose members are history buffs, Anglophiles or fans of historical fiction. Or English people.

How would I rate this as a book group choice? I’d give it a 3/5 rating.

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Wow, your new design is very eye-catching! I keep thinking I need to update mine, but Blogger doesn’t have a lot of options that I like.

    I’d really like to discuss this book with someone who can make the case for Richard being the villain after all – just out of curiosity. I can see that not knowing much about him might lessen the impact of the book. But it got discussion going, and it sounds like people read the book!

    1. Thanks about the design! I hate changing so often, but it keeps me involved with blogging. Blogger is tough – they need to upgrade.

      People really did like the book a lot and it got some people very interested in learning more. I only know the basics, but I wondered (or wanted) an alternative opinion – I wish you could have attended and given us a ‘whole-picture’ view!

  2. I like the new design!

    I read Daughter of Time when I was eleven or so, and it made me a lifetime devoted defender of Richard III. In opponents to him, I think Alison Weir is a good one maybe? She’s MY enemy because of my above-mentioned adoration of Richard III, but I have heard from other, more neutral readers that she’s a pretty solid historian. :p

    1. Thanks, Jenny! I always hope I don’t tick people off with my frequent design changes.

      I thought Tey’s argument was extremely convincing and I am inclined to believe her, but I would really love to hear what the opposition says. I will check out Alison Weir – thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Interesting that not many knew who Richard III was. Perhaps it is a very ‘English’ subject. The book though despite it being fiction is a good starting point for learning about Richard. Before moving on to more weighty tomes.

    1. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t know Richard III, but then again maybe not. We’re not really required to study English history in school so it would be easy to be ignorant of the story. All of us were fascinated by his life, though, and want to learn more about this time period so that was a good outcome.

  4. I read this book last year and really, really liked it. I knew very little about Richard III and I enjoyed learning about him.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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