128 of 134 people found the following review helpful
One of the Best Cousins' War Novels,
This review is from: The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War) (Hardcover)Philippa Gregory has long been associated with the highest quality in historical fiction. After reinventing the genre with her highly popular The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory has consistently turned out quality period novels, taking on Henry VIII's other and somewhat lesser known wives, Queen Elizabeth I and the many ladies of the War of the Roses. In her latest entry into her Cousins' War series, Gregory tells the story of Anne Neville, the daughter of the famous kingmaker, Richard Neville, who put Edward of York on the throne.
It may seem simple on the surface, but there is much more to Anne's story. After Edward's highly unpopular marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, the subject of The White Queen, Anne's father felt betrayed and in order to secure his own connections to the throne, he marries Anne's older sister Isabel to Edward' brother George. When a series of failed revolts forces the Nevilles out of England, Anne is married to the exiled Edward of Lancaster in one last desperate attempt to put a Neville on the throne. But when the last Lancaster push for the throne fails, Anne is left adrift with an uncertain future.
Dare I say that Kingmaker's Daughter is one of the best books in the Cousins' War so far? While I enjoyed the others, especially The White Queen, Kingmaker's Daughter followed an incredibly fascinating young woman and her struggle as a political pawn during one of the most turbulent periods in British history. Through Anne starts off as a somewhat meek and weak young woman, she draws strength from her life experiences and grows into a stronger, more intelligent and motivated woman. On virtually every page, I fell more in love with Anne, cheering for her and wanting her to succeed and find happiness in a world that views her as little more than an annoying pawn.
Kingmaker's Daughter is considered Gregory's first "sister" story since Other Boleyn girl. Though the entire novel takes place through the eyes of Anne, there is ample time given to the complex relationship that Anne and her sister Isabel share (and, admittedly, I enjoyed Isabel more than Anne at first). Through all of the drama, the political ambition that seems to have rubbed off on the girls from their father, the greed and their relationship with their mother, Isabel and Anne are still sisters caught up in war and politics in a world where women do not have the power that men do.
I was honestly a tad bit disappointed with how Gregory handled the "sisters" aspect of the novel. Though Isabel and Anne's rivals and dramas were given some page time, the majority of the novel focused on the many other issues of the war and the sisters' relationship, I felt, wasn't given as much time as I would have liked. Also, for a while it seemed liked the working title for this book was "The Kingmaker's Daughters," which implied that it was about Anne AND Isabel. Though Anne's story may be more interesting, I would have liked to have seem some narration by Isabel to help the reader get a peek into her life and get her side of the story.
Aside from the that, the only other small thing that bothered me was the repetition. Since Gregory has already written three novels about this period, it can be a little difficult to discuss fully new events in each book. Though Kingmaker focused on different characters and angles, it still covered the same period and the same conflicts, so at times I felt like I was reading too much of the same things that happened in the previous books.
Yet, despite these few stumbling blocks, Gregory still delivers an incredibly exquisite, well-constructed world of high historical detail and compelling characters. Kingmaker's Daughter is one of the standout novels of the Cousins' War, with a lot of action, politics and great character conflict that's exactly what Gregory fans have come to crave.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 28, 2013 1:25:48 PM PDT
Would you recommend reading the cousins' war novels in order?
Posted on Jun 3, 2013 10:22:09 AM PDT
Janice Tillotson says:
Am considering buying this, but would like to know how many hours running time it is.
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