The Kingmaker’s Daughter (The Cousins’ War #4) by Phillipa Gregory



Spies, poison, and curses surround her…

Is there anyone she can trust?

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

RHFL Classifications

Romantic Biographical Fiction

Heat Rating: 1 1/2

Review Rating: 5 Stars

Review by Elizabeth

This was probably the best book so far out of the Cousin’s War series. The only bad thing that I can think of is that it’s really easy to get confused. Then again, that might just be me, trying to keep track of things. If the reader gets a better handle on the background and history and the small players it makes it better. It’s always really annoying when everyone’s name is the same. But then again that could just be me since all of the novels pretty much have all the people in all of them.

It’s nice seeing Elizabeth Woodville from a different perspective especially since the last book was about Jacquetta her mother so of course it was in the best light. This was really interesting to see how she was possibly from someone who was superstitious and realized how much power she really had. Whether it was super natural or just natural charm that was powerful.

Anne Neville, it’s a name that I have heard of before but didn’t know all that much about. I suppose for being known for knowing this time period it’s sad that I didn’t even know she was a queen. And what a rise to power that was. She was promised the throne at least a dozen times before it actually happened. Her story is interesting and it’s sadly almost loveless. Except with her husband but even there it doesn’t seem to be anything beyond a friendly love which is heartbreaking.

It was nice to see some of the key battles in the Cousin’s War from a women’s perspective. Gregory tried to write out battle scenes in The Red Queen and I just didn’t like that. While it was informative it just doesn’t fit with the tones of the books. You feel the grief much more from the women’s perspective. The historical aspects of the story a nice and refreshing from their point of view. While the battles are in the background of the novel and not a forefront the political intrigue and flip flopping is there and you get it all.

Anne grows a lot throughout this book which is good, especially since the book basically spans twenty or so years up right until the moment of her death. It’s interesting to see a death as it happens, or so to say, having the dream that she has held off for so long. Anne’s constant worrying about Elizabeth’s powers is interesting and sometimes laughable. But you have to remember in that age that witchcraft was believed and anything could be brought up by it. Even curses and deaths and blood oaths. It’s funny in the end you realize the same time that Anna does that she wasted all that time for nothing. The last fourth of the book, basically when Anne was Queen was the most interesting. She has such an impact in things (was she the one who basically called for the murders/disappearances of the little Princes?) the banishment of Elizabeth Woodville and her daughters and what would lead her husband to his defeat and the rise of the House of Tudor.


No Responses

  1. A very useful review, thanks. I’ve had this series on my TBR pile for some time because I’m really interested in the Wars of the Roses, and have already read a number of novels about the period. But I’ve seen a lot of comments to the effect that the author takes rather a lot of liberties with the truth – which would definitely seem to be the case from what you’ve said here; I’ve certainly never heard it put forward that Anne Neville was the one to suggest the murder of her two nephews! I’m certainly not an expert, but I don’t think there is any historical evidence to suggest it either.

    If you’re interested in this period and would like to read a novel that’s more soundly based in fact, I would highly recommend Sharon Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour. It takes an unashamnedly RIcardian view of the time and events, but it’s a superb read.

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