Published by: Touchstone
Published on: August 14, 2012
Page Count: 432
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Reading Format: Audiobook Review Copy sent to me by Audioworks for consideration.
Audiobook Published by: Audioworks, in imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Bianca Amato
Audiobook Length: 15 hours 7 minutes
Audio Sample: Simon & Schuster Audio has a sample from the beginning of the book on Sound Cloud. I’ve embedded this at the end of my review.
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook
Anne Neville was born the youngest of two daughters of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, and England’s Kingmaker. It was his deepest desire to see one of his daughters on the throne of England and thus make his grandson the next King of England. Many a bloody battle was fought getting his charge, Edward IV, on the thrown. When Edward went behind his back and married a common widow and then allowed that widow to begin to show complete favor to her family, the Kingmaker was forced into action. In marrying his eldest daughter Isabel to Edward’s younger brother George, he felt the pawns were in place to make his dream come true. When that failed, he made an alliance with Margaret of Anjou, his oldest enemy. The marriage of her son, Prince Edward, to Anne once again set his plan into action. Unfortunately, Richard Neville’s ambition got the best of him and he died in defeat, leaving Anne without a father and at the whim of the King he was trying to overthrow. At only 15, Anne had to find her own way in the treacherous world of Edward IV’s court and he was by no means her deadliest enemy.
Before Philippa Gregory began the Cousin’s War series, I was starting to burn out on her books and Historical Fiction in general. I had overindulged in that genre to say the very least. I read and enjoyed The White Queen, although it wasn’t my favorite of her novels. I enjoyed The Red Queen just a little less and then found I had no interest in The Lady of the Rivers. Still, when I was offered a chance to review The Kingmaker’s Daughter, I couldn’t pass it up. Anne Neville and her family fascinate me and I’m happy to say that Philippa Gregory wrote a novel that exceeded my expectations and even made me want to go back and read about Jacquetta Woodville.
From the moment I started the audiobook, I didn’t want to leave it. It started off fast and didn’t let up until the end. The half dearest sisters, half rivals relationship between Anne and Isabel was authentic and important to the novel as a whole. They both struggled to live up to their father’s dreams for them and to survive his expectations after he was gone. It was interesting to watch their dreams of being queen mature from that of glamour, excitement, and power to an inner hardness and paranoia. Knowing what ultimately became of them both and holding out hope that their future was brighter was just another sign that Gregory delivered this story just right.
Although I’ve read many of Gregory’s novels, The Kingmaker’s Daughter was my first experience of her work in audio. I absolutely loved Bianca Amato. She brought this story to life. Her voice and its range made this book delightful. Philippa Gregory wrote an entertaining novel, but I believe it was the combination of that with the experience of audio that made me so happy throughout. Going forward, audio will be my preferred medium for Gregory’s novels, especially if Bianca Amato is the narrator.
There was so much I enjoyed aboutThe Kingmaker’s Daughter, but there was one nagging issue. Gregory seems to have developed a habit of repeating things. I vaguely remember this from The Red Queen, but it was rather apparent in this novel. For example, almost every time she mentions Margaret of Anjou by name, she also has to mention the nicknames of her and her husband. I knew who was “the Bad Queen” and I knew that she was married to “the Sleeping King.” Likewise, key events within the novel were reparaphrased throughout. Those scenes were not likely to be forgotten and it felt like it was getting in the way of the story.
If you want intrigue, backstabbing, ruinous rumors, threats of witchcraft, paranoia, and even a little romance in your historical fiction, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the complete package. I really enjoyed this book and it felt so good to be so happily reading Philippa Gregory again. I found the ending perfect. In this book I’m starting to see the full 306 degree view she is attempting to give a reader of that time and place. Together with Bianca Amato, Philippa Gregory brought The War of the Roses to life and had me consistently turning to Wikipedia to learn even more about the Nevilles and the Plantagenets.
Audio Sample from Simon & Schuster Audio