Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Kingmaker's Daughter

The Kingmaker's Daughter is a 2012 historical novel written by Philippa Gregory on the life of Anne Neville, Queen of England 

Isabella and Anne Neville are attending the coronation of the Edward IV's new queen, Elizabeth Woodville, who we wed in direct opposition of his chief adviser, their Father, Richard Neville. Influenced by his wife, Edward dismisses his old advisers and places his new in-laws in positions of power, upsetting the Neville family who view the new queen as a upstart. Seeking powerful family alliances for the Rivers family, Elizabeth  breaks the engagement between Isabella and George, Duke of Clarence and Anne and Richard, Duke of Gloucester. In direct opposition to Elizabeth Woodville, and in turn the King, Warwick marries Isabella to the King's second brother and stages a rebellion.Warwick defeats the King's forces and executes John and Richard Woodville, Father and brother to the Queen,  proving himself worthy of his nickname of "The Kingmaker".

It soon became apparent that Warwick could not rule without the King and so in September 1469, Edward VI was released from Middleham Castle.Warwick is forced to flee to France and on the stormy ridden boat ride there, Isabella goes into premature labor and gives birth to a stillborn son. While staying at the court of King Louis XI of France., Warwick begins making dealings with Margaret of Anjou to put Henry VI back on the English throne. To this end, Anne is married to Margaret's son, Edward of Westminster, in 1470. Realizing that he will never be king this way, George defects from Warwick's cause and allies himself with his brother. Warwick departs France to reclaim the throne for the Lancaster cause, leaving Anne to be raised by the she-wolf Margaret.

The Battle of Barnet sees the end of the Kingmaker and he is killed in battle. Margaret and Edward of Westminster return to England with additional forces in hopes of finishing what Warwick started but they too fall prey to the might of Edward IV. Edward of Westminster perishes in the battle of Tewkesbury and Margaret of Anjou is taken prisoner in the Tower. With her Father dead and her Mother in hiding, Anne is left practically orphaned. The King's younger brother, Richard, takes her and places her in the household of Isabella, who is on the winning side this time.

George wanted to keep Anne in his care in order to retain the entire Warwick fortune which would be halved upon Anne's marriage to another. It was under these conditions that Richard began to court Anne. They married on July 12, 1472, despite what others may say, for love. Their only child, Edward of Middleham, a year later. Isabella, herself, was blessed with three children: Margaret, Edward and Richard. Following Richard's birth, Isabella died under mysterious circumstances (the boy dying only a few months after his birth). Edward blames Isabella's death on witchcraft and accuses a woman by the name of Ankarette - who he believes is under the control of Queen Elizabeth Woodville - of poisoning his wife and she is executed for her crimes. George had the folly of plotting against the King once again and he was executed for treason in 1478 on his own terms - drowning in a butt of Malmsey wine.

On April 9, 1783, Edward IV dies and his son by Elizabeth Woodville becomes Edward V of England. To stop the Woodvilles from claiming the regency, Richard kidnaps the Prince and holds him hostage in the tower, later collecting Edward's younger brother as well. The Duke of Gloucester disinherits the two boys by declaring the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville null and void. Richard crowns himself King of England, making Anne the Queen. The princes in the tower mysteriously go missing - although Richard is not to blame. Anne and Richard's only child, Edward, dies later that month. After the death of her son, Anne loses the will to live.

Upon hearing that Elizabeth Woodville has made an alliance with Margaret Beaufort, whose son, Henry Tudor, is the senior Lancastrian claimant to the English throne, the former Queen and her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, are permitted to return to court. Richard begins a flirtatious relationship with the young York girl to discredit the match and rumors has it that he will marry her as soon as Anne has died. He denies this of but their relationship may not have been innocent as he claims it to be.

Anne died on March 16, 1485.

I give this book a 3/5. As someone who was interested in the tumultuous life of Anne Neville and there by little work done of this lost Queen of England, I decided to give this book a shot. It was a good book albeit rather slow but it had no discernible traits. Gregory does a good job at portraying the hatred felt by the Neville girls and the York boys (save the King) for Elizabeth Woodville. Overall it's a good book but it won't be on the top of your to-read list unless you're specifically interested in the War of the Roses and Anne Neville.

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