The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory: A Review

Spies, poison, and curses surround her...

Is there anyone she can trust?
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.
 King Richard III and his family in the contemporary Rous Roll in the Heralds' College. Left to right: Anne Neville, Queen of King Richard III; King Richard III; Edward, Prince of Wales, their son. From the Rous Roll, by John Rous, 15th century, Memoirs of King Richard the Third and Some of His Comtemporaries: With an Historical Drama on the Battle of Bosworth, (1862).

Philippa Gregory is such a controversial writer with the content of all her books highly scrutinized. I have made it a point to read her books for enjoyment (hopefully) instead of expecting a true-to-life biography...I'll leave the grumbling to the historians! 

The Kingmaker's Daughter is written from the protagonist's perspective of Anne Neville before becoming Queen Consort of England and then during her reign. She had a sad life full of death and war before finding a husband in Richard III of England. 

I found myself growing quite fond of Anne Neville for her innocence, youth and inner strength. She was written as a girl who, though knew her place, spoke her mind even when it was wise to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself.

I found her relationship with her father Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, quite touching. I liked him as well. He seemed to be a man of integrity and strength. He had his expectations of his daughters but treated them with love and respect. Anne's mother was written to be physically strong but emotionally weak. A woman who faced many tragedies of her own yet chose sanctuary for most of her years; according to the author.

Philippa Gregory is such a strong writer with such descriptive capabilities, enthralling readers with gripping content such as the 'birth' scene early on of Isabelle, Anne's sister. I can't go into details as not to give things away but reading it on my sofa I was almost in a fetal position...fantastic scene!!!

The sister relationship between Isabelle and Anne Neville was one filled with love, distrust, hate, jealousy, envy, pride, competition and sibling rivalry. Isabelle's struggles during her early years left her bitter and with a heart of stone whereas Anne even with her many trials and tribulations kept her heart open and her love towards her sister consistent.

I fell in love with the romance between Anne and Richard III; written heartwarmingly and realistically in demeanor as the couple aged attempting to deal with their marriage during battles, wars, deaths, births etc. I applaud Philippa Gregory for not making them too sappy or predictable.

I highly recommend The Kingmaker's Daughter to anyone who may be curious or interested in a thrilling read!


Maggie Peters said…
Nice observations and a good review.
I'll have to add this to my list!
Kimberly Eve said…
HiMaggie, thanks so much for commenting. I hope you enjoy The Kingmaker's Daughter!
Sylwia said…
I like your review and I always loved the Wars of the Roses! Although I'm not a great fan of historical fiction, I truly enjoy Philippa Gregory's novel from Wars of the Roses' series, they are really great. I'm looking forward to read "The Kingsmaker's Daughter'' :-))
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Sylwia, I've enjoyed all the books in Philippa Gregory's The Cousins' War Series too. I hope you enjoy The Kingmaker's Daughter, as well. Thanks for commenting.

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