The Kingmaker's Daughter
Length Of Time In Possession : 1 week
I am a huge fan of the royal dynasty historical novels by Philippa Gregory. I have read all her Tudor Court novels except The Other Queen and in 2010, prior to the advent of this blog, read the the first two of her 'Cousins War' novels The White Queen and The Red Queen.
I adored The White Queen and though I liked The Red Queen slightly less largely due to a dislike of Margaret Beaufort as a character, was still really 'into' Gregory's novels. I saw Gregory speak at World Book Night, we had to leave as the next session was starting, and she was surrounded but I whispered 'I love her' as I went by!
I hadn't yet got round to either the prequel 'The Lady Of The Rivers' or the next in sequence 'The Kingmaker's Daughter'. The BBC is currently showing an exceptionally high quality adaptation combining the 3 novels in sequence (excluding the prequel) and I felt I HAD to get the third book read before I saw the series in full. I am glad I did because I read it in between watching episodes 1 and 2 and episode 2 contains a lot of content directly from The Kingmaker's Daughter.
What I particularly like about these novels from Gregory is that though history marks the achievement of the men, in all of these historical novels events are seen through the eyes of women, and generally in the case of the Cousins War women whose fates and destinies were largely decided by their fathers, husbands and sons.
Though Elizabeth Woodville 'The White Queen' makes her own destiny, Margaret Beaufort is regularly left trapped by decisions taken out of her hands. This novel brings us Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl Of Warwick. Warwick becomes a mortal enemy of the Queen when following their marriage he loses the ability to puppeteer his cousin King Edward IV and rule through him.
As he plots against kings, earning the title "Kingmaker" Anne and her elder sister Isobel become merely pawns in his general masterminding, if unable to take the throne in his own right, to take it through his blood, his descendants. Their fortunes change like the weather, as their decisions are made for them and they are forced into hard and unpleasant situations beyond their control.
Elizabeth Woodville is the heroine of The White Queen, but in this the alternate perspective of her enemies, she is the antagonist, which is really interesting. Anne and Isobel, are terrified of Elizabeth, believing her (rightly) to be a witch, and more than that, a witch who has directly cursed them both.
Anne Neville is beautifully realised and the novel is a full on pageturner, which genuinely makes you feel and root for Anne despite your prior loyalty to Elizabeth, which is a genuine skill from any writer to be able to present two sides of argument really well. Anne just desperately wants to fulfill her beloved father's dream, and pays a heavy price.
Despite not 'loving' The Red Queen' Philippa Gregory has me fully back on board with this one and I can't wait for The White Princess due out this year, and to catch up with 'Lady Of The Rivers' and 'The Other Queen'
Verdict : Awesome 10/10
Destination : Pass to my friend