BOOKENDS REVIEW: Philippa Gregory's The Kingmaker's Daughter
There is a reason why Philippa Gregory is called the queen of royal fiction. Her novels are seductive, ruthless, suspenseful (even though you may already know how they will end), and just so enthralling.
Her newest book, The Kingmaker’s Daughter, is the fourth in The Cousins’ War Series about the battle for the throne between the Houses of Lancaster and York in the 15th century.
This was the dynasty that ended when Henry Tudor took the throne. His son was the very famous (or infamous?) Henry VIII. So after completing her Tudor series, Gregory has stepped another hundred years back in time.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter is about Anne and Isabel Neville, the daughters of the “Kingmaker,” Richard, Earl of Warwick. Warwick uses his daughters as pawns as he tries to get a Neville on the throne.
The two sisters end up marrying the younger brothers of King Edward IV. At one point, Isabel’s husband George tries to take the throne. At another point, Anne’s husband Richard tries to take the throne. As the plot unfolds, sister is pitted against sister, brother is pitted against brother, and mother and father are pitted against their children.
When one of the sisters finally accomplishes her father's dream, she realizes that the crown can be hollow and not worth losing those you love.
While the Tudor books are about seduction, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is about family loyalty and betrayal. It’s incredible how ruthless Gregory’s characters can be because of their ambition and hunger for power.
Gregory’s books, including this one, are page turners because she makes you care about the characters that move along the historic plot. Whether you hate them, or love them, you want to know how the story ends for the Neville sisters and their enemies (or allies, depending on the day).
I enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed any Gregory book. But to this day, my favourites are those of The Wideacre Trilogy. If you’re a Gregory fan, please head to your local bookstore and pick up Wideacre, The Favoured Child, and Meridon.
The series is about three generations of women in the 18th century, a time when women had no power over their own lives. The decisions that Beatrice Lacey makes in the first book affect the lives of her daughter and granddaughter in the next two books.
The Wideacre Trilogy is not royal fiction, and yet I think it’s Gregory at her best. She leaves the reader frustrated and yet hungry for more until the story is finally resolved at the end of the third book.
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