Review: Philippa Gregory – The Kingmaker’s Daughter

The Kingmaker’s Daughter
Philippa Gregory

Anne Neville is the younger of two daughters of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick who was the most powerful magnate in 15th century England. While her older sister Isabel gets the first pick of the future Kings of England, Anne is left with the dregs. When will it be her turn to sit on the throne?

Anne’s an interesting alternative heroine mainly because her story has already been determined by history. It takes any anticipation out of the story and leaves us with Anne and her strong personality. For the time, the way she is written is as a superstitious but practical woman who is determined to live her life her way. Of course we can’t know what she was like in real life, but we’d like to hope that she wasn’t a completely passive observer of her life – and that she was lucky enough to get a bit of romance apart from her arranged marriages.

I picked this up as a light read while in the USA on vacation, but didn’t get around to reading it until I got home. I was bored one day and needed something to read that didn’t require too much concentration, and this fit the bill. Halfway through reading I admit that I Wiki-ed Anne Neville because I was too impatient to find out who she ended up marrying and whether her offspring survived. Children so often died in those times – especial Royal children thanks to their inbreeding. I love teaching the pedigree of Queen Victoria’s haemophilia for example (many men in the family died young thanks to her).

I’m not sure quite why I’ve bothered to review this novel because there are literally thousands of other reviews of this novel! Perhaps it is just for my own records and sanity. I’ve also read The Constant Princess and was similarly nonplussed. A quick read, don’t expect to be surprised if you know your history. 3 stars.

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