Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Pages: 432 
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: August 14, 2012
Source: Publisher for Review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Anne and Isabel Neville's father is the person that they call "The Kingmaker" or the Earl of Warwick.  He is one of the most powerful men in England and he uses his daughters in his political games hoping that one of them will end up as the Queen of England.  The story follows Anne starting at her childhood and all the way through her death.  Her first marriage is to her former enemy's son and she is only fourteen years old. There are many ups and downs with this marriage and before she knows it, she is left a widow and abandoned by her family.  Just when she thinks it is over for her, she ends up in a relationship with Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, and that's when things start to change.  Philippa Gregory's latest addition to the Cousins' War series is extremely entertaining, well researched, and an edge of your seat read.  I highly recommend The Kingmaker's Daughter to fans of Gregory and historical novels.

As always, when reading Gregory's books, I am enthralled. I can barely put the book down and am always questioning whether this actually happened, because The Real Housewives have nothing on Edward IV's court.  Talk about drama! There's always conspiracies, political intrigue, and of course, desperate I-will-do-anything-at-all-costs maneuvers to get to the throne.  Anne's father is one of the slickest and determined characters. His eye is on the prize and it never waivers, even if it should as he risked the life of many a family member for his "cause."  Anne and Isabel's relationship was interesting. They obviously love each other, but are highly competitive sisters.  Isabel was especially cold at times and I wasn't a fan of her underhandedness. It reminded me a bit of Anne and Mary Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl.  

The turn of events in Anne's life are unbelievable. One minute she is at the bottom and it appears she's done and the next minute, she's back up on top.  As The Kingmaker's Daughter progressed, it was actually quite sad what happened to Anne's family.  This is definitely a depressing story when you think about what happened to the Neville family and at what cost.  

I found The Kingmaker's Daughter to be especially intriguing if you've read The White Queen and sided with Elizabeth Woodville. Since this novel is from Anne's point of view, readers will see Elizabeth in a whole new (and not so admirable) light.  It was interesting to get a different take on the many controversies surrounding the War of the Roses, such as the Princes in the Tower.

I never thought I would love a historical read as much as some of Gregory's Tudor Court books, but the Cousins' War series is just as captivating, if not more as there is SO much intense scheming and plotting. There are so many moments where you think to yourself, "Oh-my-god. Did this really happen? That's nuts!" Fans of Gregory won't be disappointed by The Kingmaker's Daughter.  Needless to say, I already cannot wait for Gregory's next book in this series, The White Princess, which focuses on Elizabeth of York. I'll read anything that Gregory writes; she's simply the best at what she does!


  1. I didn't realize this was part of a series of books. I love Philippa Gregory's books and have been really wanting to read The White Queen and The Red Queen books. I think I'll have to get on that because this one sounds amazing! Great review Christina!

    1. Thanks, Andrea! It's definitely one of my favorite series.

  2. I have heard so many great things about Phillippa Gregory's books and I always see them at the bookstore. I have no idea why I haven't picked one up yet, but this one sounds very interesting. I'm a history nerd, so why not get this one?. :) Great review.

    1. I think you'd like this series, Nina! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I really want to read this one Christina! I love Philippa Gregory:) Can you imagine living in this time period in the royal court? It would be insanely exhausting and stressful and I can tell you right now I know I wouldn't be cut out for all the game-playing and the politics. I would flee to the country and try not to get beheaded:)

  4. I need to play catch up with this series. I admit that The Red Queen wasn't a favourite of mine which is maybe why I've put off reading The Lady of the Rivers, but I need to get to it!


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