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Here’s yet another book review in my book review blitz! I told you I was catching up with all my reviews. 😉 This time it’s a book for adults, although I believe it could be appropriate for some older teens. Hopefully you, my readers, don’t mind a flurry of reviews as opposed to homeschool chit-chat – although I’ll strike that up again before too long. As it is, most homeschoolers are avid readers, which is just a nice way of saying BOOK ADDICTS, lol. I know I’m one for sure and having a Kindle has just made it easier for me to indulge my addiction (no more reading headaches!). I’ve got over 70 linear feet of bookshelves and over a thousand Kindle books (mostly freebies!!) and I’m still always hunting down a good read for me and/or for Otter!
I’ve read other books by Philippa Gregory, but The Kingmaker’s Daughter is my favorite by far. Well-researched and entertaining, it covers the life of Anne Neville and her sister Isabel, daughters (and pawns) of the “Kingmaker” a powerful nobleman who was responsible for putting Edward of York on the throne and later conspired to take him off it and replace him with his brother.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the latest addition to the “Cousin’s War” series that takes place during the “War of the Roses” (just before the Tudors came to power) which consists of (besides this newest title):
The Lady of the Rivers: a novel about Jaquetta Duchess of Bedford whose daughter Elizabeth Woodville secretly marries King Edward
The White Queen: introduces us to Elizabeth Woodville and covers her fight to help her family rise to power after her marriage to King Edward, as well as the disappearance of her sons from the Tower of London
The Red Queen: a novel about Margaret Beaufort who who marries Edmund Tudor and pours her ambition into her son Henry (Margaret was Henry VIII’s grandmother)
The White Princess: Coming out in August of 2013, this book will cover Princess Elizabeth, Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter
Supposedly, there is also going to be a T.V. drama produced by the STARZ network sometime this year in 2013.
Each of the books covers a different perspective of this time period (mid to late 1400’s). If you’ve read the other books, you won’t be surprised by what happens (it’s based on the same piece of history with all the same major players, after all), but having the different view points adds a dimension of understanding and interest to each one that makes them well worth reading as a series. The characters that you hate in one book, you love in another. It really goes to show you there are two (or more!) sides to every story. Having said that though, you do NOT have to have read any other books in the Cousin’s War series in order to understand what’s going on. The Kingmaker’s Daughter is perfect as a stand-alone.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter starts out with Anne and Isabel as children and follows them through their lives (for about 20 years or so) during the turbulent events of the War of the Roses. Other reviews have covered elements of the plot so I won’t discuss that other than to say The Kingmaker’s Daughter is well-researched and seems to be fairly accurate with, of course, a bit of personal interpretation. All of the main incidents of the War of Roses (including the disappearance of the “nephews in the tower” is contained within the pages as viewed through the eyes of Anne.
For much of the book Anne is fairly young. The story starts out with her as an 8 year old and much of the book is centered around her life as a teen (since she was married at 14). Interaction between Anne and her sister is a pendulum swinging from devoted sisterly love to sibling rivalry & drama. However, despite the fact that the book covers the two sisters, it’s really more about Anne. I found the dialogue and events to be realistic. Philippa does a terrific job at capturing a depth to Anne as she matures from a child into a young woman who wants a hand in her destiny but is swept up in the events of the time and the constraints of 15th century society. Philippa did a great job at making me care about Anne and her world and portrayed Richard the III in a sympathetic way instead of the evil monster who murdered his nephews, as I’ve read in other books.
One thing that was a welcome surprise was there there are zero bodice ripping, tawdry romance scenes in this book. In fact, this book was so “clean” (with one exception) that I would recommend it to some older Y.A. (young adult) readers who are interested in historical fiction. I’m an adult who is a regular reader of Y.A. titles and think it would appeal to that age group since Anne is young throughout most of the book (and even when she is an adult she retains much of the same voice). There is still plenty of history and depth along with complicated relationships and history to keep any lover of historical fiction interested, no matter what the age. To clarify, there are intimate relationships portrayed – just that they are more implied than described. Please see the end of the review for a description of potentially objectionable material.
As for detail and world building, I think Philippa did an admirable job. I felt immersed in the story and while it’s very dialogue and character driven, there is plenty of world building through the first-person observations of Anne. There is plenty of detail, but it never mires the book down. I also felt like Anne was realistically portrayed for her time period. She didn’t feel like a modern girl/woman plopped down into historical fiction and yet she was very accessible as a character.
If you haven’t read any of Philippa Gregory’s books, I recommend starting with this one. It will give you a great introduction to a well-loved author. If you have, you may find, like I did, that The Kingmaker’s Daughter quickly becomes your favorite of Gregory’s books. After reading the Kingmaker’s Daughter (in one evening as I didn’t want to put it down), I promptly bought the other books I haven’t read yet in this series and will soon be devouring them as well. 🙂
Potentially objectionable material (if you are handing this over to a teen) – with potential spoilers.
Please note that I may not have posted each and every incident I came across, but this should give you a good idea.
- graphic description of childbirth where the baby is stuck and Anne has to slip her hand in to try and turn it – the baby is born dead
- Anne’s first night in bed (as a young teen) with her husband Edward is described (this is the most graphic s*x in the entire book, that I can recall). It illustrates how Anne was made to marry what had been her family’s enemy for most of her life. There was no love between the two teens who were being played on the stage of their parent’s making:
- ‘You lie there and don’t say anything,’ he repeats loudly. ‘The best thing you can do for me, right now, is to say nothing. Most of all don’t remind me who you are, I can’t stand the thought of that…and then he heaves up in the bed and drops on me with his full weight, plunging into me as if he was stabbing me with a broadsword.
- Note: This may be a bit much for some teens. Use your discretion. It is the only incident like this in the book, that I recall.
- There is a slight bit of romantic tension between Anne and her 2nd husband Richard before they marry. After they marry it’s clear they bed one another but there is nothing graphic as it’s implied and not described.
- There is little to no cursing. Whore is used in context such as, “…Elizabeth Woodville is the King’s whore.”
- Anne is concerned that Elizabeth Woodville and her mother may be using witchcraft against her and her sister and blame them for some of the negative events in the story
All in all, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is more tame than many Y.A. (young adult) novels I’ve read, even though it’s written for adults, and works very well for the older spectrum of that age group, if you are O.K. with the items mentioned above.
*Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. My reviews are NEVER influenced by getting something for free!
Want to read more of my book reviews (for adults, teens and children)? Click here!
Now that I’ve finished posting my latest review, here are today’s free Kindle books for kids. There are books for all ages here today, from baby to teen to mom even!
Miss Brain’s Cool Math Games for kids in grades 1-2
The Wild Cats of Piran – Chronicle One
New Year New You (Big Red Balloon)
My Name is Snappy Jack
Spot the difference – Farmyard Fun
For The Love of Pickle Juice
Snitch – This book is for teens and covers cyberbullying and other issues modern teens have to face. You may wish to preview it.
Lily Out of Bounds (Soccer Sisters)
Puppies! Learn To Read With Cute Puppy Pictures (for ages 4 and under) (Early Learning Picture Book Series)
50 Fun Stories for 3-7 Year Olds
Cry into the Wind – I haven’t previewed this book yet. It’s written for adults, but is about a girl during the Dust Bowl. It might be appropriate for teens.
God Has Better Things to do Than My Laundry (and Other Observations by an Overly Dramatic Mom) Here’s one for Mom’s 🙂