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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
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
What a difference a point of view makes. Fans of
the series, like myself, who have read the last three books in the series,
especially "The White Queen" and "The Red Queen" can see
how Philippa Gregory has written the same events with a different twist for
each narrator. Elizabeth Woodville, the kind, loving mother from "The
White Queen" and the potential yet dangerous ally from "The Red
Queen" becomes a malicious, trecherous poisoner through the eyes of Anne
Neville. Richard goes from a strong, keen usurper to a knight errant, deeply in
love with his wife. And Anne, most of all, goes from being a wishy-washy
background character, pushed aside in favour of the more desirable characters
to being a loving wife, caring mother, and an unwilling but ambition player in
the game of England's throne.
Like "The Lady of Rivers", which left me wishing for Margaret of
Anjou's story, this one leaves me wishing for a book for Isabel. The sister's
tumultuous relationship, which leaves them loving friends one moment and bitter
enemies the next is a nice change from "The Virgin Widow" by Anne
O'Brien, which had the sisters always at each others throats. Here, it's
circumstance, fear and husbands that drive the sisters apart, but also unite
them. Growing up against the bitter backdrop of the Cousin's War, then both
entering it themselves in their early teens, Anne and Isabel often find
themselves at oppsoing forces, in their marriages and their father's abmition
for himself. But both happy events and tragedy bring the sisters together, and
Anne is berefit without Isabel to support her in the last third of the book.
Gregory also continues with the de-villainastion of Richard III, showing him as
a man who yes, made some bad calls, who had some selfish desires, but who was
someone who was also human, who adored his wife, who followed his brother with
a fierce loyalty and loved his country so passionately he chose to usurp the
throne rather than let the much hated Rivers family take it for themselves. And
George, through Anne's gentle and tender view, becomes less a spoilt child
throwing a tantrum for the throne, but rather a wronged-man, outed by his
sister in law, and grieving for his loved wife and child.
Certainly a weclome addition to a series I've been thoroughly enjoying, and a
perfect set up for the upcoming "The White Princess", the story of
Elizabeth of York, Henry VII's bride and Henry VIII's mother. There is one last
novel left to come after, "The Last Rose", which I am tipping is
about Margaret Platagenet, Isabel and George's daughter, the only surviving
grandchild of Richard Neville, the Kingmaker, who met a sad and grisly end at
the whim of her cousin, Henry VIII.