Eight-year-old Anne and her 13-year-old sister, Isabel, know from an early age that their father, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, is a force to be reckoned with. Denied male heirs of his own, he doesn't hesitate to use both of his daughters, the richest heiresses in England, as pawns in his high-stakes political chess games to further his own ambitions. As one of the most powerful and important men in 15th-century England, Warwick becomes widely known for his ability to maneuver his choice of leader onto the throne no matter what it takes. So skilled is he that he soon earns the nickname "the Kingmaker."
"As usual, Philippa Gregory immerses us in another time and place filled with brilliant historical detail and draws us into the rich threads that make up the tapestry of human relationships as only she can."
THE KINGMAKER'S DAUGHTER opens in 1465 with Anne, Isabel and their parents in attendance at the court of Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, in the Tower of London. Anne finds herself fascinated with Elizabeth, in spite of the fact that she is disliked far and wide. Considered an upstart, she is a widow and the first commoner to marry a King of England. At the time, Anne has no idea how great a role she will play in her life.
Ever plotting to turn the tide of events in his favor, the Earl of Warwick arranges a marriage for Isabel solely with an eye to his political future. When that union doesn't turn out to be the advantage he thought it would be, he turns to Anne and marries her off to Edward, Prince of Wales. Edward is the son of Margaret of Anjou, one of the Earl's oldest enemies with whom he then decides to join forces.
Powerless to refuse her father's orders, Anne finds herself wed to a man she barely knows and certainly doesn't love. When her father and husband are both killed only a few months into the marriage, Anne finds herself in the care of Isabel and her husband. Unfortunately, trading her father's supervision for that of her brother-in-law and sister is highly unsatisfactory to Anne.
When Anne's childhood friend, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, approaches her, offers her his protection and declares his love, she is only too glad to ally herself with him to free herself of the restrictions she has suffered. Luckily, this is a love match, and Anne and Richard find themselves ecstatically happy in spite of the political intrigue that swirls around them at all times.
As time passes, however, the intrigue and scheming that take place at the royal court serve to bring a dark cloud over Anne, Isabel and their husbands. Protecting herself, her husband and her family from Elizabeth and her conspirators are the most important things to Anne, but when no one is to be trusted and spies are everywhere, it's hard to chart a course of action. Will Anne succeed in achieving her father's highest ambitions and become Queen of England, or will she be cast out into obscurity and disgrace as have so many others before her?
THE KINGMAKER'S DAUGHTER is a fascinating account of political intrigue in England at the time of the War of the Roses. This tale of the kings of the House of York is spellbinding, riveting and oftentimes tragic. As usual, Philippa Gregory immerses us in another time and place filled with brilliant historical detail and draws us into the rich threads that make up the tapestry of human relationships as only she can.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on August 24, 2012