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Sunday, August 05, 2012

My review of The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

About the book:

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:

There is something about Philippa Gregory's writing that is enthralling. This story was told from Anne Neville's point of view and I found it fascinating, especially since the last book I'd read by this author was The Lady of the Rivers. I love it when a series takes on different perspectives so you get a more well-rounded view of all sides.

I felt sorry for the Neville girls. How awful to be used for gain and raised to marry and solely to increase one's wealth. I think the author did a great job at making the girls female versions of their father. He thought he was doing the right thing, but switching sides is not the best way to achieve an end. There were so many needless deaths over the throne and to protect one's right to reign that it was appalling. I can't imagine living in constant fear like that.

Anne's mother was perfectly hateful, too. She did not act like she cared for her daughters at all, but merely had her own interests at heart. I felt especially bad for Isabel when she was pregnant the first time. I found the doubt that her mother put in Anne's head about her husband quite sad, and then when things got convoluted in his relationship with his niece, well, let's just say ick to that. I pitied Anne because she felt the desire to give up at such a young age. But after so many needless losses on so many fronts, I don't blame her for wanting to go to sleep and never wake again.

I found the whole belief regarding the Woodville's controlling men through witchcraft quite fascinating, but I can see where things that cannot be explained would be concluded that way. There were a lot of needless deaths over this as well. So much treachery and loss. Anyway, I love this series because it makes me think and the most profound conclusion of all was that the very thing Anne wanted most of her life seemed hollow in the end without love. Isn't that the truth? Great story. I read it quickly and it's over 400 pages long. That's a great novel!

The Kingmaker's Daughter was published by Touchstone Books and releases August 14, 2012

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