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The Kingmaker's Daughter: The Cousins' War    by Philippa Gregory order for
Kingmaker's Daughter
by Philippa Gregory
Order:  USA  Can
Touchstone, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Crowley

Philippa Gregory has once again written a royal treat for history buffs in her latest novel set in fifteenth-century England. Gregory brilliantly brings to life a relatively obscure historical figure, Anne Neville, Queen to King Richard III, and places her front and center as the story of the House of York and Lancaster erupts into a fascinating historical drama.

From an early age, Anne Neville and her sister Isabel are groomed to be wives of royalty. The maker of kings, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, hopes to see his ultimate political dream come true when he plots to marry his daughter Isabel to George, Duke of Clarence. George, brother to King Edward IV, is next in line to the throne of England. When Richard Neville withdraws his support from King Edward, he plots to kill Edward and make George king. But at a time when loyalties shift between York and Lancaster, fate has a different ending in store for the kingmaker's daughters.

When Anne is granted her fondest wish, to marry Richard, Duke of Gloucester, she arrives at the court of Edward IV in quiet disgrace. Although Anne is now a Duchess and wife to the brother of the King of England, two murders will forever haunt Anne and her sister. When their father successfully removed Edward IV from the throne of England, his first order was for the execution of the father and brother of the Queen, Elizabeth Woodville. Elizabeth Woodville, the daughter of a squire and the mother of two from a previous marriage, arranges fabulous matches for her family, the Rivers. When their power over the King is resented by the majority of England, Neville seizes the moment to execute the two most hated members of the queen's entourage.

But when Richard Neville is killed in battle, Elizabeth is once again queen. She will never forget that her father and brother died at the hands of the Nevilles. Richard of Gloucester dismisses Anne's fear of the queen, especially the rumors that she dabbles in black magic. When Anne's nephew unexpectedly dies, followed by his mother, Anne is adamant that the queen will not rest until every Neville is dead. Anne and Richard must watch their every move as the hated Rivers family waits for the perfect moment to exact revenge.

The Kingmaker's Daughter reminds readers why Philippa Gregory is considered royalty among historical fiction authors. Gregory takes the turbulent reign of King Edward IV and crafts a compelling read full of royal plotting, spectacular paranoia, and shifting loyalties, along with a small dose of the supernatural. Readers who are sympathetic to King Richard III will love Gregory's kind portrayal of the king thought to have murdered the princes in the tower. Although Elizabeth Woodville is one of Philippa Gregory's favorites, in The Kingmaker's Daughter, she is written as a dangerous beauty. Gregory delivers another flawless and entertaining read and The magnificent ending promises yet another bestselling sequel from the queen of historical fiction.

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