St. Martin's, Jan 2003, 35.00, 480 pp.
's contention is that the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 occurred due to religious differences that came to a head due to royal pregnancy. King James II was a Catholic and his two daughters were Protestant. When James' Catholic wife became pregnant, leading Protestants including James' oldest daughter Mary, married to the King's nephew Prince William of Orange, encouraged her spouse to take the crown from her father. When James II turned to the military to defend him, he found the army and navy deserted him. His other daughter, Anne, a Protestant, supported William and Mary. Ironically, Anne became the last Stuart ruler as neither she nor her sibling had children so the throne passed down the Hanoverian line after her.
UNGRATEFUL DAUGHTER is a terrific telling of one of the key events and its aftermath (approximately a quarter of a century) in English history. Based on a tremendous assortment of documents, especially secondary sources, readers obtain a close look at the period and why the change occurred in an entertaining manner. Historical fans obtain a close look at James II whose pompousness never enabled him to understand the opposition until he was exiled to France. The book also looks deeply at what motivated his daughters, his replacement as king, and later his exiled son. However, purists need to realize that Maureen Waller juxtaposes modern day values on late seventeenth England. Still this is a wonderful biography that British historical buffs will enjoy and learn from.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner