The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Here’s the thing. I love history. A lot. I love when Philippa Gregory novels. A lot. The fact that her books are historical novels makes me nearly giddy. I might love Gregory’s novels to the point I almost hate them just a little bit, too. The Kingmaker’s Daughter was no exception.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the story of Anne Neville and her road to becoming queen. It starts when she is 8 years old and ends when she is 28. She starts off as her father’s pawn, a way to move higher in importance by marrying her off to the best offer. Her father uses her to try and win back his power over the king after King Edward’s (of the York side) wife and her family steal his influence away. She is married to Prince Edward of the Lancaster side as a way to buy a tie to the kingship. After her husband dies and the Lancaster line is officially ended, she loses nearly all her potential power and influence.

It is at this moment she starts to make choices for herself. She knows there are very few options to gain independence for herself, so she takes the next best road and marries someone she cares a great deal for, and eventually loves. Richard. I never doubted for a second that they came to love each other. To begin with, it almost feels as though the marriage is one of purpose. She wants to leave the house of her sister and brother-in-law, and Richard wants access to the land, wealth, and power her name brings. But by the end of the novel, there was love there.

The princes in the tower are touched upon, and yet nothing is definitively said about their fate. I like that Gregory doesn’t try to take a side. She keeps that mystery going and I appreciate that.

In the past 3 novels, I had come to form an opinion of Anne Neville and it wasn’t the greatest. Even though I saw her as a product of those around her, I wasn’t overly fond of her character in the last three books. However, when it’s finally her turn to tell the story, I fell in love with her and started to despise characters I had loved previously.

This is what I love most about The Cousins’ War series. In one novel, a character is painted as horrible, but the next makes him or her lovable. There isn’t one “villain” you can root against. They are all good and bad. Gregory has taken the stories we read in history books and made them into people. I can’t get enough of it.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is yet another brilliant addition to The Cousins’ War series and I’m hopelessly upset I have to wait another year to hear Elizabeth of York’s story.

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