I’m a complete Philippa Gregory addict. I think my love of Philippa’s books started about eight years ago. I was in England, and we were visiting the town of Windsor. What do you do when you’re in England? Sightsee? Me? I go to bookstores. I bought a stack of British books, which I loved, one of which was The Other Boleyn Girl. I was totally hooked. I’m pretty sure I’ve read 2/3 of Gregory’s catalogue, including one of the Wideacre books, which was still historical, but very strange.
Gregory’s newest novel, part of the Cousin’s War series, is called The Kingmaker’s daughter. I wasn’t all that surprised to like it so much, as it’s style and tone harken back to my Philippa induction about Anne Boleyn’s sibling, also part of a ‘Sisters Series’. To me, this new one is one of her best books. It’s extremely readable and full of intrigue, love, great storytelling, and just enough of political detail to keep a history buff’s appetite whetted.
Focusing on Richard Neville (The Kingmaker), the Earl of Warwick’s younger daughter Anne, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the story of the most powerful family, next to the King himself, in fifteenth century England. Both Anne and her sister Isabel are raised to be Queens-although they are not in line to the thrown. Used as pawns in Warwick’s hedge-betting machinations, the girls are married to opposing sides in the War of the Roses. Her father, continually switching sides to gain power, brings the wrath of the Witch-Queen, Elizabeth Woodville upon the family. Neville’s attempts to overthrow King Richard have disastrous results. Poor Anne, widowed at a 14, her father dead, her mother in sanctuary, and her sister married to the enemy, must free herself from bonds thrust upon her and find her own destiny alongside the King’s younger brother, Edward.
What I liked: Of late, Gregory’s books were full of political and battle details that kind of lost me. I was quite pleased that she returned back to great storytelling and fantastically interesting characters. I’m always amazed how she can build a novel around the truths of history, while fleshing out the stories of the women who have been forgotten by history. The author’s style of writing never fails to please-her prose is just how I like it-descriptive without too many flowers. In these historical novels, it’s not about the fashions or the decor, but the people and the story.
What I didn’t like: Pleased to say, nothing. For historical fiction lovers this one is a real winner!
Recommend Factor: 8/10 ( Historical fiction is not for everyone)
Unputdownable Factor: 10/10 (read it forthwith)
Words to describe The Kingmaker’s Daughter: Intriguing, fascinating, stellar, historical creativity
Note: I was provided this book for review by Simon and Schuster Canada. The opinions in this review are my own, and they’re not syncophantic, I really loved this book. You should get it.