The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his daughters, Anne and Isabel as pawns in his political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa 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 to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Married at age fourteen, she is soon left widowed and fatherless, her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Anne manages her own escape by marrying Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will set her on a collision course with the overwhelming power of the royal family and will cost the lives of those she loves most in the world, including her precious only son, Prince Edward. Ultimately, the kingmaker’s daughter will achieve her father’s greatest ambition.
Alright, here it is: Philipa Gregory is one of my top 5 favorite authors of all time. I adore everything she does, especially her historical fiction on the incredible monarchies of England. I started with The Other Boleyn Girl, and just can’t get enough ever since. Needless to say, when I walked into Barnes and Nobel one day and saw that she had another new book out on the shelves, I swooned, drooled a little, and bought it without hesitation. As with all her other novels, I devoured this one.
If you’ve ever seen Shakespeare’s Richard III, you’ll recognize our heroine as the woman that the ambitious king eventually marries. This is Anne Neville’s story, and it will blow your mind. Though it is of course fiction, it nevertheless made me wonder whose side I would be on in this cousins war.
The book is narrated by Anne, and we open the pages to find her a seven-year-old heiress. Much like The Other Boleyn Girl, we hear the story of a younger sister. We learn of their love for one another, their hate, their reconciliation, and all the while Anne and her sister Isabel are caught up in The War of the Roses. We see another side of Richard, Duke of Gloucester; here we do not see the typical image of a power-hungry, deformed little monster of a man, we see a handsome young duke, fixated on justice, the peace of his country, and protecting his family. We see their story unfold. We hear yet another theory on what happened to the Princes in the Tower. We are taken on a journey of love, politics, war, poison, greed and even witchcraft.
In my opinion, Philipa Gregory can do no wrong. This book only furthered that. A must read.
And ps: my favorite thing to do after I have all her published books is read them in historical chronological order, The Cousins War through The Tudor Court. Start with Lady of Rivers and read in historical order all the way through The Other Queen
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