Philippa Gregory’s fans will not be disappointed with this, the fourth in her Cousin’s War series featuring royal women caught up in the Wars of the Roses.
The first novel in the series, The White Queen, focused on Elizabeth Woodville, bride of King Edward IV. In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, the heroine is the Earl of Warwick’s daughter Anne Neville. Gregory shows the War of the Roses from the Nevilles’ perspective: fierce opponents of Elizabeth, it soon becomes clear that their fortunes depend on the downfall of the Queen.
Anne, raised in the second most powerful family in England, is brought up to expect a powerful marriage. When her father turns against his protégé King Edward IV, whom he helped bring to the throne, Anne’s destiny is brought into uncertainty. Her father marries her to King Henry VI’s son Edward, a rival claimant to the throne, yet when tragedy strikes in war and she is imprisoned it’s down to her to forge her own future.
Gregory is known for her portrayals of strong women and, in the absence of much historical evidence, fills in the gaps to present Anne as a player and not a pawn in her own destiny. It could be said that Gregory plays fast and loose with the facts, but fans will enjoy this romantic interpretation of a woman torn between kith and kin during this tumultuous period of medieval history.
Check out our interview with Philippa Gregory about her first book for young adults Changeling.