The Last Daughter of York
Grade : B+

The Last Daughter is an unusual, intriguing novel featuring time travel, magical artifacts and an interesting defense of Anne Lovell.  It’s well-written, well-researched, engrossing and incredibly original - but the magical world-building is somewhat weak.

The plot is split between two different storylines which eventually intertwine in the last half of the novel. The first half of the story follows twenty-seven-year-old Serena Warren, whose twin sister Caitlin disappeared when they were seventeen.  Serena was no help to the authorities at the time, because she completely blocked out the incident.  She’s on vacation with her Aunt Polly – enigmatic keeper of the family secrets - when she receives the call that her sister’s remains have finally been found – and is stunned to learn that they have been located in a church vault that hasn’t been opened in centuries –the church vault at Minister Lovell, home to Francis and Anne Lovell, where the twins had stayed with their grandparents years ago.

The second half follows Anne Lovell through her betrothal at the age of five to her loving but fiery marriage to Francis Lovell, Richard III’s Lord Chamberlain.  Richard entrusted the Lovells with protecting his surviving nephew Richard of York from the machinations of Henry Tudor, and Anne continues to protect the boy (who, it seems, did not die in the Tower with his older brother) after Richard’s death on Bosworth Field and the ascension of Henry Tudor to the throne. In reality, Francis disappeared from the historical record after the Yorkist cause was lost; Anne, too, fell into the ethers of time.  In the fiction of the book, Anne is in possession of a family heirloom, a lodestone which imbues the user with magical properties.  What happens to her, Caitlin, Richard and Francis will be revealed soon enough.

Unique, strange and eternally interesting are the best ways to describe The Last Daughter of York; I have never encountered a plot like it, not even in all of the many time-travel romances I’ve read. The bare-bones realism of the lives Anne and Serena live centuries apart contrasts with the ghosts and magic which pop into the narrative; and while the balance between the book’s two extremes can be uneasy, ultimately it works.

I liked Anne, who has spirit and determination and is stubborn and unbiddable.  I liked traumatized Serena, who must recover her true self in order to come to grips with Caitlin’s death and get on with the business of living.  This book connects into Cornick’s The Forgotten Sister (Serena and Cornick’s previous heroine, Lizzie, are friends).

The logic of the Lodestone and how it passed along from character to character didn’t make sense to me and the rushed explain-it-all ending really doesn’t work.  But The Last Daughter of York is so beautiful and memorable and fascinatingly unique, the innovation alone makes it worthwhile and possible to overlook those particular issues.

Buy it at Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : November 17, 2021

Publication Date: 11/2021

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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