Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Kingmaker's Daugher by Philippa Gregory

Historian Philippa Gregory's latest subject for one of her outstanding historical novels is a little-known figure in British history. How many readers know anything of Anne Neville, wife of Richard III? Anne Neville achieved something her father dreamed of for one of his daughters, a throne. But, she took her life into her own hands, and married for love. The Kingmaker's Daughter is her story, told in her voice. It's a fascinating, moving novel with unforgettable scenes.

Anne Neville was the youngest of two daughters of Richard Warwick, Earl of Warwick, known as "The Kingmaker". He was a powerful figure in the fifteenth century, but he finally reached for more than he could achieve. He plotted to put one of his daughters, Isabel or Anne, on the throne of England, and he lost his life fighting against the Yorks, the family he put on the throne.

Even at the age of eight, when the story begins, Anne is her father's pawn. Her powerful parents manipulate allies, changing alliances after Edward IV marries into the power-hungry Woodville family. When he marries Isabel to Edward's younger brother, he plots for her to become queen. And, the sisters know they are little more than political pawns. Isabel is the first to understand the danger in politics. "When I wanted to be a queen I thought it was a story, like the legends, I thought it was all about beautiful dresses and handsome knights. Now I see that it is pitiless. It is a game of chess and Father has me as one of his pieces. Now he uses me on the board, next I may fall to one side and he won't even think of me, as he brings another piece into play."

In earlier novels, Gregory introduced fortune's wheel. "You can go very high and you can sink very low, but you can rarely turn the wheel at your own bidding." Anne and her sister, Isabel, experienced that wheel. Anne was forced to marry the man named the Prince of Wales, only to become a widow when her father was defeated in battle, along with her husband of only a year. Imprisoned by her sister, after her sister's rise to power, Anne took matters into her own hands. She married for love, Richard III, in order to reclaim her own inheritance. She thought she would be no one's pawn again, but realized there are never guarantees in politics. Women can be manipulated, married to bear heirs, and divorced under false pretenses. Fortune's wheel is always in play.

Once again, Philippa Gregory brings to life a woman from a time when little is known of the roles of women. Queen Anne, Anne Neville, was a fascinating woman, a woman who even as a young girl was forced to move in political circles. Gregory excels at bringing England's royal women to life. The Kingmaker's Daughter is another jewel in Philippa Gregory's crown.

Philippa Gregory's website is www.PhilippaGregory.com

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory. Touchstone. 2012. ISBN 9781451626070 (hardcover), 417p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


tati said...

I love her books and look forward to reading this one, too!

Lesa said...

If you love her books, Tati, you'll love this one as well.

Jane R said...

Philippa Gregory has been one of my daughter's favorite authors. She's always on the lookout for new books, so I've sent your review on to her. Thanks for the info!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

Philippa Gregory has a wonderful way of putting the reader into her character's shoes. I love that she has chosen to write about a lesser-known character. It sounds as though this is yet another winner!