The Kingmaker’s Daughter (The Cousins’ War #4)
Is there anyone she can trust?
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.
I felt sorry for the Neville girls. How awful to be used for gain and raised to marry and solely to increase one’s wealth. I think the author did a great job at making the girls female versions of their father. He thought he was doing the right thing, but switching sides is not the best way to achieve an end. There were so many needless deaths over the throne and to protect one’s right to reign that it was appalling. I can’t imagine living in constant fear like that.
Anne’s mother was perfectly hateful, too. She did not act like she cared for her daughters at all, but merely had her own interests at heart. I felt especially bad for Isabel when she was pregnant the first time. I found the doubt that her mother put in Anne’s head about her husband quite sad, and then when things got convoluted in his relationship with his niece, well, let’s just say ick to that. I pitied Anne because she felt the desire to give up at such a young age. But after so many needless losses on so many fronts, I don’t blame her for wanting to go to sleep and never wake again.
I found the whole belief regarding the Woodville’s controlling men through witchcraft quite fascinating, but I can see where things that cannot be explained would be concluded that way. There were a lot of needless deaths over this as well. So much treachery and loss. Anyway, I love this series because it makes me think and the most profound conclusion of all was that the very thing Anne wanted most of her life seemed hollow in the end without love. Isn’t that the truth? Great story. I read it quickly and it’s over 400 pages long. That’s a great novel!!