Title: The Kingmaker’s Daughter
Author: Philippa Gregory
Challenges: TBR Pile 2015, Reading England
Rating: 4 out of 5
Anne Neville is one of The Kingmaker’s Daughters. Her father, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick has helped to put Edward of York (Edward IV) on the throne, usurping The Sleeping King and ousting the House of Lancaster. But of course it is the late 1400s and life in the Royal Household is far from stable. Although many are happy that Edward is King, lots are far from impressed with his choice of wife, Elizabeth Woodville – the subject of Gregory’s The White Queen. It is this marriage that causes unrest within the House of York, pitching old friends against one another and brother against brother. Throughout Anne’s life she is surrounded by numerous plots aiming to deceive and undermine the Royal Household; she is used as a pawn by the men in her life, from her father to her first husband (a challenger to the throne) to her brother in law (George) and to her husband, Richard III. When Anne’s father switches sides and fights against King Edward, Anne survivors the stigma left by his betrayal and his deceit. She marries Edward’s brother and rises to become Queen, however she spends her life in fear of Elizabeth Woodville and her suspected witchcraft.
I forgot how much I enjoy Philippa Gregory’s writing. I have read the books preceding this one in The Cousins War series (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Lady of the Rivers) and have the next two books on my shelf and the narratives are just so engaging and interesting. It is not my favourite area of history but Gregory really makes it come alive and it is so easy to become lost in the world of secrets, treachery and betrayal. The great thing about Gregory’s novels is that they truly capture the female voice in a strongly male dominated society. It has been awhile since I read the earlier books in the series but the great thing about this series is that each book is told from a different female character’s perspective so they over lap slightly and you can easily pick up on the links and it is interesting to read about the same event from different view points, especially opposing ones.
I’m not sure how much I liked Anne Neville as a character; yes, I know she is a victim of the time period, but she is hardly the most endearing of people. She is torn so much between her loyalties to different people in her life and her quest to fulfil her father’s ambition and become Aueen warps her and makes her overly suspicious of everyone. I suppose I did finish the novel feeling sorry for her, mainly because her husband is beginning to become overly flirtatious with his niece, making a laughing stock of Anne in the process. I was utterly convinced that Anne was going to be pushed down the stairs and that was how she met her death, but clearly I’m confusing her with another poor wife in history. I was pleased that I remembered one character was drowned in a barrell of wine, so at least I’m not too lost in random historical facts.
A slightly rambled blog post I know, but I’m tired (ha!). I’m going to try not to leave it too long before I read the next book in The Cousins’ War series, but for now on to a favourite author and a fantastic reread.