Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory


Publish Date: August 14th 2012
Format: Hardcover 400 pp


Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents the riveting story of Anne Neville, her sister Isabel, and their ever-changing fortunes.The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping and ultimately tragic story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins’ Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he uses the two girls as pawns in his political games, but they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.  
At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child brought up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Her will is tested when she is left widowed and fatherless, with her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Fortune’s wheel turns again when Richard rescues Anne from her sister’s house, with danger still following Anne, even as she eventually ascends to the throne as queen. Having lost those closest to her, she must protect herself and her precious only child, Prince Edward, from a court full of royal rivals."

My Review:

The Wars of the Roses is always a fascinating time period to read about, but Philippa Gregory makes it even more engaging with her latest novel, The Kingmaker’s Daughter. Following the life of Anne Neville, the reader is given a first-hand account of Warwick's everlasting drive for power over the English throne, even after his death. After being used as a pawn by her father and a hostage by her sister, Anne believes that her union with Richard III will allow her to leave her troubles behind, but it only brings her closer to the eye of the storm. As sworn enemy of Queen Elizabeth, Anne must learn to stay one step ahead of Elizabeth’s treacherous snares in order to preserve her life and create the future she and Richard long to secure.

One of my favorite aspects of The Kingmaker's Daughter was Gregory's portrayal of Anne Neville. While she is usually depicted as a timid girl who is at the mercy of the power-hungry men around her, Gregory gives her a stout inner strength and the intelligence to back it up. In addition to this, it was very interesting to read a more personal account of Richard Warwick, "The Kingmaker", through Anne's eyes. If these qualities weren't enough to capture my attention, the relationship between Richard and Anne definitely succeeded in doing so. If you've read any of Gregory's previous novels about "The Cousin's War" you are well aware that she has Yorkist tendencies, and her portrayal of Richard is always touching. The love between Anne and Richard helped make the characters seem even more real; like watching figures in a music box dance to their own tune.

The Kingmaker's Daughter is a fast pace novel that will hold your attention from beginning to end, and it's definitely a novel that will leave you wanting to learn more about the key points in Anne's life. For those of you who enjoy the time period, or others who are looking for a new twist on the basic story, I would definitely recommend this work.


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