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The Kingmaker's Daughter (edition 2012)

by Philippa Gregory, Bianca Amato (Reader)

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5973716,431 (3.67)25
Member:thiscatsabroad
Title:The Kingmaker's Daughter
Authors:Philippa Gregory
Other authors:Bianca Amato (Reader)
Info:Simon & Schuster Audio (2012), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

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Lately, it seems like Philippa Gregory’s books have been hit or miss for me recently. This book was definitely a miss for me in the Cousins’ Wars series.

I have to say, I did not enjoy her interpretation of Anne Neville. I prefer other authors’ interpretations of Anne, where she is more endearing, loving, and kind. But here she is petty, ambitious and holds a grudge for like forever. OK, mind you Anne isn’t even remotely as ambitious as Margaret Beaufort or Elizabeth Woodville, but her ambitions were totally misplaced and instilled in her through her reckless family, who aren’t even that great to be named “kingmakers”. It is totally understandable that you would hold a grudge over someone else for having a hand in the death of a beloved family member(s), but come on to accuse Elizabeth Woodville of poison repeatedly throughout the story gets repetitive and are often thrown out without any solid basis. Honestly, that part of Elizabeth involving poison and witchcraft is open for interpretation and are most likely slander due to her sudden rise to prominence and greed. And how Anne constantly mentions Elizabeth (OK if you kind of ignore the whole revenge part), it just seems like Anne is intensely jealous of everything about her (clothing, children, family, and being Queen of England), like *sigh* where have we heard that before and how did she luck out in being part of a family that was famously part of the War of the Roses? As for holding a grudge, she wasn’t really the target of malice, it’s mostly her father who’s the target, plus what she considers to be a grudge is like nothing compared to the rest of the other key players in the War.

I know historical fictions are totally open to interpretation by the authors but there were times this interpretation took it too far. Seriously, the chapters are short and doesn’t really focus too much about the ongoings of the Cousins’ War at times. The feeling I get is the Warwicks/Nevilles are total usurpers themselves too, who try to justify the their cause with a puppet king. Ugh, I don’t know how the entire family think they deserve to look down on people, just because they are ‘kingmakers’ and are remotely royal (like seriously who isn’t given how many children some royals have).

Also, there was absolutely no passion or love match between Anne and Richard. They are like a coupon in a loveless and somewhat cold marriage that was only done to benefit the other party in some way (Anne in escaping her sister and brother-in-law’s greedy grasps and Richard in gaining substantial land and money through Anne’s inheritance).

Another thing that I hated. Cecily would never go around telling random people (even if Anne is family) that Edward and Elizabeth’s marriage wasn’t valid, hence the children were bastards. Like, she would be much more discreet, regardless of how much she doesn’t like Elizabeth. And besides it wasn’t until just before George’s “death” and Edward’s passing that this “rumour” went around. This story only succeeds in establishing that Anne is a minor pawn who isn’t that great of a player and had considerable luck to be so close to the throne time and time again. Like snooze alert! At least Elizabeth Tudor shows wit and charm whenever she “lucks” out.

Overall, this book was definitely a miss for me. My favourite in the Cousins’ War is definitely the Lady of the Rivers by far. Even The Red Queen and The White Queen are somewhat passable compared to The Kingmaker’s Daughter. So Anne Neville, sadly, you can disappear into the history books thanks to this story. If you want to read a story about Anne Neville, I would recommend “The Reluctant Queen” by Jean Plaidy, at least there you get to know Anne better without as much bias and hatred. ( )
  Dream24 | Aug 21, 2014 |
It was very odd to read this story from Anne's point of view. Pretty sad all of the way through, and honestly I was feeling very heart broken at the end for every side. Philippa described a tragic story in a beautiful, interesting to read way. ( )
  meggarrett0609 | Aug 6, 2014 |
Excellent read! Breathtaking intrigue (as always). Enough twists and turns to give you a headache, but you can't put it down! Loved it! ( )
  reginacorley | Jul 8, 2014 |
This novel is set from 1465-85 and told from the perspective of Anne Neville. For those unfamiliar with the Wars of the Roses, Anne was the Earl of Warwick’s daughter. Warwick was nicknamed the “Kingmaker” on account of his powerful influence and seeming ability to choose who sits on England’s throne.

Anne and older sister Isabel were treated like pawns in chess by their father. Their mother comes across as unfeeling and does whatever her husband says without question. Warwick is determined to have one daughter or the other as Queen of England. He arranges marriages for both daughters without their consent.

The narrative is written in first person and Ms Gregory does a good job of creating a voice for Anne. In the first chapter the kingmaker’s youngest daughter is aged eight, which comes across well, as here Anne recalls events from a child’s perspective.

There’s a gruesome chapter, set on board a ship during a treacherous storm, where Isabel is giving birth with only her mother and sister to help. The depiction of what Anne has to do to aid her sister when the birth starts going wrong is well-written to the point that I had to read through half-closed eyes, so to speak. I know that during the Middle Ages the chance of not surviving childbirth was always a danger.

The only two things that I find fault within this novel is a needless repetition of information, sometimes within the same paragraph, and the overuse of adverbs, including dialogue attribution, which at times distracted me from the story.

An example of repeated info in the same sentence:

the Duke of Clarence, my brother-in-law George,

The reader knows who Anne is referring to in this instance. All she need say is “the Duke of Clarence” or “my brother-in-law” or “George”, not all three alternatives at once. I’ve noticed Ms Gregory does this in other books.

In dialogue I can understand it to a n extent, as presumably it was the way one spoke to or referred to members of the monarchy, but in narration it comes across as needless repetition and using a superfluous amount of words.

An example of pointless adverbs:

‘Perhaps you need both your share of the fortune and your freedom,’ Richard says very quietly in my ear.

Surely “Richard whispers in my ear” would’ve served better.

It surprises me to see excess adverbs whenever I read works by modern authors. I thought all established writers of today knew that “The road to Hell is paved with adverbs”.

But those complaints aside, I did enjoy this tome. In comparison with Ms Gregory’s “The White Queen”, I think she’s done a good job of covering the same period in history whilst making it feel fresh by writing from a different person’s perspective.

I like the author’s portrayal of Anne Neville more than her depiction of Elizabeth Woodville, perhaps because the latter focuses so much on magic, while I prefer a realistic account of the Wars of the Roses.

This is also the third book I’ve read to feature an author’s interpretation of Anne Neville – the others being “A Dangerous Inheritance”, by Alison Weir, and “Dickon”, by Marjorie Bowen.

As Ms Gregory notes in an afterword, there is little historical account of Anne’s short life, thus an author’s or an historian’s imagination is likely to differ from their contemporaries. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Apr 19, 2014 |
The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War) The Kingmaker's Daughter is probably my favorite of the Cousin's War series to date. It is written from the perspective of Anne Neville and gives yet another interesting point of view from this volatile period of history. One of the things I enjoy so much about Philippa Gregory's novels is that she somehow manages to turn what could have been tedious political maneuvering into exciting intrigue that keeps me riveted from the first moment. I am not a historian so I have no idea how historically accurate this series is, but I can say that they certainly paint a vivid picture of what living in that time period might have been like. From the court customs, to the fashions, the scandals, the betrayals, and executions, each aspect was brought to life in such a way that I almost felt myself a part of the story. Each character was shown from Anne's point of view so was colored by her own biases and was a bit different from how these same characters were presented in the previous books. The story was focused so much on Anne, and to a lesser extent Isabelle, that many of the other characters, at times, felt a bit flat. Anne's relationship with her sister Isabelle was reminiscent of the rivalry between Mary and Anne Boleyn in Gregory's popular novel, The Other Boleyn Girl. While there was always that undercurrent of love, each sister didn't hesitate to betray the other in order to further their own cause or that of their husband. I didn't find either sister to be particularly likable, and sometimes thought that their personalities were a bit contradictory. For example, Anne seems to have grown from a bright, practical, inquisitive child into a fearful woman ruled by her superstitions and unwilling to even consider any point of view than that which painted her family in a positive light. I guess that the struggles she was faced with could account for such a drastic change in character but it was still a bit odd. One of the things about this series, including The Kingmaker's Daughter that I was not a fan of was the witchery and spells and magic that were included. However, after discussing this with a friend who is also reading the series, I can see how it may have been presented this way because of how the players so wholeheartedly believed that witchcraft was responsible for many things such as storms, sicknesses, and death. Curses were taken very seriously in 1400's England and so reading from Anne's perspective, I can see why an unexpected storm would be believed to have been whistled up by the witch who hated her. I guess this was a realistic danger in this time period, that any misfortune could be laid at the feet of someone believed to be a witch. This would have been a very effective way to discredit a powerful woman, as it seems to have done in the case of Elizabeth Woodville. While The Kingmaker's Daughter can be read on it's own as a stand-alone novel, I would definitely recommend reading the entire series in order simply because it is a beautifully written thrilling story. Despite the fact that I found many of the characters to be a bit flat, the fast paced plot was such that I found the book hard to put down. I know many people, after reading Philippa Gregory's historical fiction have been inspired to find out more about this violent era and these fascinating people. I would absolutely recommend this and any and every other book written by this author to any fans of this genre. ( )
  ahappybooker | Feb 7, 2014 |
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My lady mother goes first, a great heiress in her own right, and the wife of the greatest subject in the kingdom.
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Spies, poison, and curses surround her…. Is there anyone she can trust?

In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a novel of conspiracy and a fight to the death for love and power at the court of Edward IV of England.

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.
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"Kingmaker" Richard, Earl of Warwick, uses his daughters as political pawns before their strategic marriages place them on opposing sides in a royal war that will cost them everyone they love.

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