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The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

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Miss Moppet
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The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Post by Miss Moppet » Wed August 22nd, 2012, 7:59 pm

The UK edition of Philippa Gregory’s latest release has the tagline, The girl who would be queen. Not The girl whose father would that she were queen. Gregory veers away from the traditional depiction of Anne Neville as meek and mild, a pawn in the political games of her father, Warwick the Kingmaker. Anne begins her narration as a naive eight-year-old growing up in the shadow of her beautiful older sister Isabel. But like most medieval noble daughters, who were often married in their early teens or even before, she has to grow up fast. Warwick wants one of his daughters to be Queen of England – and he doesn’t care which one. Fortune’s Wheel spins wildly throughout this book, and Anne and Isabel are rarely at the top of it at the same time. Gregory is in her element with the depiction of sisterly rivalry against a background of court intrigue – it’s the same recipe that made The Other Boleyn Girl a worldwide bestseller. She is an expert in portraying the claustrophobia of court life: the constant fear and insecurity which were inseparable from rank and power in the turbulent fifteenth century.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter covers twenty years in the Wars of the Roses from Anne’s point of view (first-person, present tense). Although it is the fourth in the Cousins’ War series, it can be read as a standalone novel, as Gregory does not assume any knowledge of the period on the part of her readers. As Anne grows to adulthood, she learns more about the world she lives in, and the reader can learn with her. This would make a good introduction to the Wars of the Roses or to historical fiction. Although not aimed specifically at the YA market, with Anne a teenager for much of the book, I felt it was a natural fit for a YA audience.

While I enjoyed the characterisation of Anne herself and also of Richard III – he’s very far from Shakespeare’s villain but no milquetoast either – I felt other aspects of the book were underwritten. Elizabeth Woodville, queen of Edward IV and heroine of The White Queen, is a malign presence throughout this book, but although she functions effectively as an absent influence, I would have liked to read at least one meaty confrontation between her and Anne. Not necessarily an Alexis Colby/Krystle Carrington-style catfight – given the extent of Queen Elizabeth’s power Anne would hardly be likely to shove her into a lilypond however much she might want to. But I would have liked to read a long, in-depth conversation between them where both women would put at least some of their cards on the table – or pretend to. Equally, at one point in the book Anne discovers that her husband has been rather less than honest with her about certain legal aspects of their marriage. The information comes as a shock for her and I was disappointed that she never brings it up with him.

Notwithstanding, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is a fast, entertaining read which should please – and add to – Philippa Gregory’s many fans.

Full review and quotes at my blog.

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Post by Madeleine » Thu August 23rd, 2012, 11:18 am

Good review Miss M, it sounds like a good intro to this period of history.
Currently reading: The Warrior's Princess by Barbara Erskine & "A Noel Killing" by M L Longworth

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Post by rebecca » Sun August 26th, 2012, 4:22 am

"Notwithstanding, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is a fast, entertaining read which should please – and add to – Philippa Gregory’s many fans."

I came to this book with low expectations from reading her last effort and was surprised to find that I am enjoying this book for what it is-entertainment with an historical aspect. It is typical Gregory the fighting sisters, nasty mothers, feckless, ruthless men, but it's fun and enjoyable, so I read it in that spirit.

But I agree with you Miss Moppet it would have been brilliant to see a confrontation between Elizabeth and Anne.

Bec :)

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Post by princess garnet » Sun August 26th, 2012, 4:04 pm

Thanks for posting this! The only novel I've read about Anne Neville is The Recluntant Queen by Jean Plaidy.

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Post by Miss Moppet » Sun August 26th, 2012, 8:20 pm

[quote=""Madeleine""]Good review Miss M, it sounds like a good intro to this period of history.[/quote]

Thank you Madeleine, I think it is a good intro to a very confusing section of history!

[quote=""rebecca""]"Notwithstanding, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is a fast, entertaining read which should please – and add to – Philippa Gregory’s many fans."

I came to this book with low expectations from reading her last effort and was surprised to find that I am enjoying this book for what it is-entertainment with an historical aspect. It is typical Gregory the fighting sisters, nasty mothers, feckless, ruthless men, but it's fun and enjoyable, so I read it in that spirit. [/quote]

Yes, I had low expectations too, not having managed to finish any other of the Cousins' War series - in fact I most likely wouldn't have attempted this one if I hadn't gone along to PG's talk. Glad I did as this was a chip off the old Gregory block, although it won't topple my favourites The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance.

[quote=""princess garnet""]Thanks for posting this! The only novel I've read about Anne Neville is The Recluntant Queen by Jean Plaidy.[/quote]

I haven't read anything else about Anne although I would like to now. There's also The Virgin Widow by Anne O'Brien.

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Post by Misfit » Sun August 26th, 2012, 11:48 pm

There's also The Virgin Widow by Anne O'Brien.
That is very romancey, and IIRC O'Brien admits in the author's notes that it was written as such.
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Post by Amanda » Mon August 27th, 2012, 1:07 am

[quote=""Misfit""]That is very romancey, and IIRC O'Brien admits in the author's notes that it was written as such.[/quote]

I read The Virgin Widow recently, and it was not as romancey as I expected it to be. The romance did not distract from the story really.

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Post by rebecca » Mon August 27th, 2012, 2:35 am

[quote=""Miss Moppet""]Thank you Madeleine, I think it is a good intro to a very confusing section of history!



Yes, I had low expectations too, not having managed to finish any other of the Cousins' War series - in fact I most likely wouldn't have attempted this one if I hadn't gone along to PG's talk. Glad I did as this was a chip off the old Gregory block, although it won't topple my favourites The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance.



I haven't read anything else about Anne although I would like to now. There's also The Virgin Widow by Anne O'Brien.[/quote]

my favourites The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance.

Those two are my favourites as well ;) ....I am 3/4 way through Kingmakers daughters. I hope to finish it by the weekend.

Bec :) PS: BTW Excellent review Miss Moppet :)

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Post by Miss Moppet » Tue August 28th, 2012, 10:09 pm

[quote=""rebecca""]

Bec :) PS: BTW Excellent review Miss Moppet :) [/quote]

Thank you Bec! :)

One thing puzzles me.

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Post by rebecca » Wed August 29th, 2012, 2:43 am

[quote=""Miss Moppet""]Thank you Bec! :)

One thing puzzles me.
[/quote]
But perhaps PG's main aim was to simply entertain the reader. I know that is how I am reading it and I have to admit I like the book.

I will have to read some bio's on Richard and Anne(I know my bad :o I've never read a bio on Richard III. All the bio's of him are on my TBR list)I'll have to get cracking and read one-especially as I don't think he killed the Princes in the Tower.

Bec :)

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