The story of Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of James I, and her four daughters raised in exile during the Dutch Golden Age, tracing how their lives shaped a three-decade war and fulfilled the promises of their great-grandmother, Mary Queen of Scots.
It’s sometimes difficult to keep track of all those brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins in castles scattered across Europe. That difficulty is compounded when the focus of attention is on a royal family with 13 children. But Goldstone is a master juggler. She tells a good story, always with a delightfully light touch. In the process, extraordinary women are given the attention they deserve. Goldstone brings them to prominence in a way that preserves their femininity while highlighting their strength. This is a feminist history without ever trying to be one. Women saved this family. Sisters did it by themselves.
Goldstone’s forthright and often witty asides keep this complicated story bowling along at a terrific pace ... Hard though Goldstone works, she fails to inject the daughters of her book’s title (Princesses Elizabeth, Louisa, Henrietta Maria and Sophia) with the charisma of their mother, also known in her day as 'the queen of hearts' and even as 'the most charming princess of Europe' ... Lively and well-researched, Daughters of the Winter Queen offers a timely introduction to a turbulent period in Britain’s past relations with Europe.
Elizabeth Stuart and her four daughters, the subjects of Ms. Goldstone’s absorbing book, have been largely overlooked by historians, but the author convincingly shows that these women ought to be understood as drivers of history ... Ms. Goldstone, the author or co-author of 10 other well-regarded books of European history, is a thrilling narrator of this complicated history. Yet the achievement of a work like this is not merely its command of a vast and dense web of the past, but also its incredible literary merit. Daughters of the Winter Queen is nothing short of page-turning, an exceptional work of scholarship that reads like a favorite novel filled with political intrigue, romantic scandal, and more than one dark-of-night escape.