The Kingmaker's Daughter

The Kingmaker's Daughter

by Philippa Gregory

Hardcover

$24.29 $26.99 Save 10% Current price is $24.29, Original price is $26.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, November 16

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451626070
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 08/14/2012
Series: Plantagenet and Tudor Series
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 355,742
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl. She studied history at the University of Sussex and received a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh. Visit her website at PhilippaGregory.com.

Hometown:

Yorkshire, England

Date of Birth:

January 9, 1954

Place of Birth:

Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa

Education:

B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984

Read an Excerpt

The Kingmaker’s Daughter




  • My lady mother goes first, a great heiress in her own right, and the wife of the greatest subject in the kingdom. Isabel follows, because she is the oldest. Then me: I come last, I always come last. I can’t see much as we walk into the great throne room of the Tower of London, and my mother leads my sister to curtsey to the throne and steps aside. Isabel sinks down low, as we have been taught, for a king is a king even if he is a young man put on the throne by my father. His wife will be crowned queen, whatever we may think of her. Then as I step forwards to make my curtsey I get my first good view of the woman that we have come to court to honor.

    She is breathtaking: the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. At once I understand why the king stopped his army at the first sight of her, and married her within weeks. She has a smile that grows slowly and then shines, like an angel’s smile. I have seen statues that would look stodgy beside her, I have seen painted Madonnas whose features would be coarse beside her pale luminous loveliness. I rise up from my curtsey to stare at her as if she were an exquisite icon; I cannot look away. Under my scrutiny her face warms, she blushes, she smiles at me, and I cannot help but beam in reply. She laughs at that, as if she finds my open adoration amusing, and then I see my mother’s furious glance and I scuttle to her side where my sister Isabel is scowling. “You were staring like an idiot,” she hisses. “Embarrassing us all. What would Father say?”

    The king steps forwards and kisses my mother warmly on both cheeks. “Have you heard from my dear friend, your lord?” he asks her.

    “Working well in your service,” she says promptly, for Father is missing tonight’s banquet and all the celebrations, as he is meeting with the King of France himself and the Duke of Burgundy, meeting with them as an equal, to make peace with these mighty men of Christendom now that the sleeping king has been defeated and we are the new rulers of England. My father is a great man; he is representing this new king and all of England.

    The king, the new king—our king—does a funny mock bow to Isabel and pats my cheek. He has known us since we were little girls too small to come to such banquets and he was a boy in our father’s keeping. Meanwhile my mother looks about her as if we were at home in Calais Castle, seeking to find fault with something the servants have done. I know that she is longing to see anything that she can report later to my father as evidence that this most beautiful queen is unfit for her position. By the sour expression on her face I guess that she has found nothing.

    Nobody likes this queen; I should not admire her. It shouldn’t matter to us that she smiles warmly at Isabel and me, that she rises from her great chair to come forwards and clasp my mother’s hands. We are all determined not to like her. My father had a good marriage planned for this king, a great match with a princess of France. My father worked at this, prepared the ground, drafted the marriage contract, persuaded people who hate the French that this would be a good thing for the country, would safeguard Calais, might even get Bordeaux back into our keeping, but then Edward, the new king, the heart-stoppingly handsome and glamorous new king, our darling Edward—like a younger brother to my father and a glorious uncle to us—said as simply as if he were ordering his dinner that he was married already and nothing could be done about it. Married already? Yes, and to Her.

    He did very wrong to act without my father’s advice; everyone knows that. It is the first time he has done so in the long triumphant campaign that took the House of York from shame, when they had to beg the forgiveness of the sleeping king and the bad queen, to victory and the throne of England. My father has been at Edward’s side, advising and guiding him, dictating his every move. My father has always judged what is best for him. The king, even though he is king now, is a young man who owes my father everything. He would not have his throne if it were not for my father taking up his cause, teaching him how to lead an army, fighting his battles for him. My father risked his own life, first for Edward’s father, and then for Edward himself, and then, just when the sleeping king and the bad queen had run away, and Edward was crowned king, and everything should have been wonderful forever, he went off and secretly married Her.

    She is to lead us into dinner, and the ladies arrange themselves carefully behind her; there is a set order and it is extremely important that you make sure to be in the right place. I am very nearly nine years old, quite old enough to understand this, and I have been taught the orders of precedence since I was a little girl in the schoolroom. Since She is to be crowned tomorrow, she goes first. From now on she will always be first in England. She will walk in front of my mother for the rest of her life, and that’s another thing that my mother doesn’t much like. Next should come the king’s mother but she is not here. She has declared her absolute enmity to the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville, and sworn that she will not witness the coronation of a commoner. Everyone knows of this rift in the royal family and the king’s sisters fall into line without the supervision of their mother. They look quite lost without the beautiful Duchess Cecily leading the way, and the king loses his confident smile for just a moment when he sees the space where his mother should be. I don’t know how he dares to go against the duchess. She is just as terrifying as my mother, she is my father’s aunt, and nobody disobeys either of them. All I can think is that the king must be very much in love with the new queen to defy his mother. He must really, really love her.

    The queen’s mother is here though; no chance that she would miss such a moment of triumph. She steps into her place with her army of sons and daughters behind her, her handsome husband, Sir Richard Woodville, at her side. He is Baron Rivers, and everyone whispers the joke that the rivers are rising. Truly, there are an unbelievable number of them. Elizabeth is the oldest daughter and behind her mother come the seven sisters and five brothers. I stare at the handsome young man John Woodville, beside his new wife, looking like a boy escorting his grandmother. He has been bundled into marriage with the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, my great-aunt Catherine Neville. This is an outrage; my father himself says so. My lady great-aunt Catherine is ancient, a priceless ruin, nearly seventy years old; few people have ever seen a living woman so old, and John Woodville is a young man of twenty. My mother says this is how it is going to be from now on: if you put the daughter of a woman little more than a witch on the throne of England, you will see some dark doings. If you crown a gannet, then she will gobble up everything.

    I tear my eyes from the weary crinkled face of my great-aunt and concentrate on my own task. My job is to make sure that I stand beside Isabel, behind my mother, and do not step on her train, absolutely do not step on her train. I am only eight, and I have to make sure that I do this right. Isabel, who is thirteen, sighs as she sees me look down and shuffle my feet so that my toes are under the rich brocade to make sure that there is no possibility of mistake. And then Jacquetta, the queen’s mother, the mother of a gannet, peeps backwards around her own children to see that I am in the right place, that there is no mistake. She looks around as if she cares for my comfort and when she sees me, behind my mother, beside Isabel, she gives me a smile as beautiful as her daughter’s, a smile just for me, and then turns back and takes the arm of her handsome husband and follows her daughter in this, the moment of her utter triumph.

    When we have walked along the center of the great hall through the hundreds of people who stand and cheer at the sight of the beautiful new queen-to-be and everyone is seated, I can look again at the adults at the high table. I am not the only one staring at the new queen. She attracts everyone’s attention. She has the most beautiful slanty eyes of gray and when she smiles she looks down as if she is laughing to herself about some delicious secret. Edward the king has placed her beside him, on his right hand, and when he whispers in her ear, she leans towards him as close as if they were about to kiss. It’s very shocking and wrong but when I look at the new queen’s mother I see that she is smiling at her daughter, as if she is happy that they are young and in love. She doesn’t seem to be ashamed of it at all.

    They are a terribly handsome family. Nobody can deny that they are as beautiful as if they had the bluest blood in their veins. And so many of them! Six of the Rivers family and the two sons from the new queen’s first marriage are children, and they are seated at our table as if they were young people of royal blood and had a right to be with us, the daughters of a countess. I see Isabel look sourly at the four beautiful Rivers girls from the youngest, Katherine Woodville, who is only seven years old, to the oldest at our table, Martha, who is fifteen. These girls, four of them, will have to be given husbands, dowries, fortunes, and there are not so very many husbands, dowries, fortunes to be had in England these days—not after a war between the rival houses of Lancaster and York, which has gone on now for ten years and killed so many men. These girls will be compared with us; they will be our rivals. It feels as if the court is flooded with new clear profiles, skin as bright as a new-minted coin, laughing voices and exquisite manners. It’s as if we have been invaded by some beautiful tribe of young strangers, as if statues have come warmly to life and are dancing among us, like birds flown down from the sky to sing, or fish leapt from the sea. I look at my mother and see her flushed with irritation, as hot and cross as a baker’s wife. Beside her, the queen glows like a playful angel, her head always tipped towards her young husband, her lips slightly parted as if she would breathe him in like cool air.

    The grand dinner is an exciting time for me, for we have the king’s brother George at one end of our table and his youngest brother Richard at the foot. The queen’s mother, Jacquetta, gives the whole table of young people a warm smile and I guess that she planned this, thinking it would be fun for us children to be together, and an honor to have George at the head of our table. Isabel is wriggling like a sheared sheep at having two royal dukes beside her at once. She doesn’t know which way to look, she is so anxious to impress. And—what is so much worse—the two oldest Rivers girls, Martha and Eleanor Woodville, outshine her without effort. They have the exquisite looks of this beautiful family and they are confident and assured and smiling. Isabel is trying too hard, and I am in my usual state of anxiety with my mother’s critical gaze on me. But the Rivers girls act as if they are here to celebrate a happy event, anticipating enjoyment, not a scolding. They are girls confident of themselves and disposed for amusement. Of course the royal dukes will prefer them to us. George has known us for all his life, we are not strange beauties to him. Richard is still in my father’s keeping as his ward; when we are in England he is among the half dozen boys who live with us. Richard sees us three times a day. Of course he is bound to look at Martha Woodville who is all dressed up, new to court, and a beauty like her sister, the new queen. But it is irritating that he totally ignores me.

    George at fifteen is as handsome as his older brother the king, fair-headed and tall. He says: “This must be the first time you have dined in the Tower, Anne, isn’t it?” I am thrilled and appalled that he should take notice of me, and my face burns with a blush; but I say “yes” clearly enough.

    Richard, at the other end of the table, is a year younger than Isabel, and no taller than her, but now that his brother is King of England he seems much taller and far more handsome. He has always had the merriest smile and the kindest eyes but now, on his best behavior at his sister-in-law’s coronation dinner, he is formal and quiet. Isabel, trying to make conversation with him, turns the talk to riding horses and asks him does he remember our little pony at Middleham Castle? She smiles and asks him wasn’t it funny when Pepper bolted with him and he fell off? Richard, who has always been as prickly in his pride as a game-cock, turns to Martha Woodville and says he doesn’t recall. Isabel is trying to make out that we are friends, the very best of friends; but really, he was one of Father’s half dozen wards that we hunted with and ate with at dinner in the old days when we were in England and at peace. Isabel wants to persuade the Rivers girls that we are one happy family and they are unwanted intruders, but in truth, we were the Warwick girls in the care of our mother and the York boys rode out with Father.

    Isabel can gurn all she wants, but I won’t be made to feel awkward. We have a better right to be seated at this table than anyone else, far better than the beautiful Rivers girls. We are the richest heiresses in England, and my father commands the narrow seas between Calais and the English coast. We are of the great Neville family, guardians of the North of England; we have royal blood in our veins. My father has been a guardian to Richard, and a mentor and advisor to the king himself, and we are as good as anybody in the hall, richer than anyone in this hall, richer even than the king and a great deal better born than the new queen. I can talk as an equal to any royal duke of the House of York because without my father, their house would have lost the wars, Lancaster would still rule, and George, handsome and princely as he is, would now be brother to a nobody, and the son of a traitor.

    It is a long dinner, though the queen’s coronation dinner tomorrow will be even longer. Tonight they serve thirty-two courses, and the queen sends some special dishes to our table, to honor us with her attention. George stands up and bows his thanks to her, and then serves all of us from the silver dish. He sees me watching him and he gives me an extra spoonful of sauce with a wink. Now and then my mother glances over at me like a watchtower beacon flaring out over a dark sea. Each time that I sense her hard gaze on me, I raise my head and smile at her. I am certain that she cannot fault me. I have one of the new forks in my hand and I have a napkin in my sleeve, as if I were a French lady, familiar with these new fashions. I have watered wine in the glass on my right, and I am eating as I have been taught: daintily and without haste. If George, a royal duke, chooses to single me out for his attention, then I don’t see why he should not, nor why anyone should be surprised by it. Certainly, it comes as no surprise to me.



    I share a bed with Isabel while we are guests of the king at the Tower on the night before the queen’s coronation as I do in our home at Calais, as I have done every night of my life. I am sent to bed an hour before her, though I am too excited to sleep. I say my prayers and then lie in my bed and listen to the music drifting up from the hall below. They are still dancing; the king and his wife love to dance. When he takes her hand you can see that he has to stop himself from drawing her closer. She glances down, and when she looks up he is still gazing at her with his hot look and she gives him a little smile that is full of promise.

    I can’t help but wonder if the old king, the sleeping king, is awake tonight, somewhere in the wild lands of the North of England. It is rather horrible to think of him, fast asleep but knowing in his very dreams that they are dancing and that a new king and queen have crowned themselves and put themselves in his place, and tomorrow a new queen will wear his wife’s crown. Father says I have nothing to fear, the bad queen has run away to France and will get no help from her French friends. Father is meeting with the King of France himself to make sure that he becomes our friend and the bad queen will get no help from him. She is our enemy, she is the enemy of the peace of England. Father will make sure that there is no home for her in France, as there is no throne for her in England. Meanwhile, the sleeping king without his wife, without his son, will be wrapped up warm in some little castle, somewhere near Scotland, dozing his life away like a bee in a curtain all winter. My father says that he will sleep and she will burn with rage until they both grow old and die, and there is nothing for me to fear at all. It was my father who bravely drove the sleeping king off the throne and put his crown on the head of King Edward, so it must be right. It was my father who faced the terror that was the bad queen, a she-wolf worse than the wolves of France, and defeated her. But I don’t like to think of the old king Henry, with the moonlight shining on his closed eyelids while the men who drove him away are dancing in what was once his great hall. I don’t like to think of the bad queen, far away in France, swearing that she will have revenge on us, cursing our happiness and saying that she will come back here, calling it her home.

    By the time that Isabel finally comes in I am kneeling up at the narrow window to look at the moonlight shining on the river, thinking of the king dreaming in its glow. “You should be asleep,” she says bossily.

    “She can’t come for us, can she?”

    “The bad queen?” Isabel knows at once the horror of Queen Margaret of Anjou, who has haunted both our childhoods. “No. She’s defeated, she was utterly defeated by Father at Towton. She ran away. She can’t come back.”

    “You’re sure?”

    Isabel puts her arm around my thin shoulders. “You know I am sure. You know we are safe. The mad king is asleep and the bad queen is defeated. This is just an excuse for you to stay awake when you should be asleep.”

    Obediently, I turn around and sit up in bed, pulling the sheets up to my chin. “I’m going to sleep. Wasn’t it wonderful?”

    “Not particularly.”

    “Don’t you think she is beautiful?”

    “Who?” she says, as if she really doesn’t know, as if it is not blindingly obvious who is the most beautiful woman in England tonight.

    “The new queen, Queen Elizabeth.”

    “Well, I don’t think she’s very queenly,” she says, trying to sound like our mother at her most disdainful. “I don’t know how she will manage at her coronation and at the joust and the tournament—she was just the wife of a country squire, and the daughter of a nobody. How will she ever know how to behave?”

    “Why? How would you behave?” I ask, trying to prolong the conversation. Isabel always knows so much more than me; she is five years older than me, our parents’ favorite, a brilliant marriage ahead of her, almost a woman while I am still nothing but a child. She even looks down on the queen!

    “I would carry myself with much more dignity than her. I wouldn’t whisper with the king and demean myself as she did. I wouldn’t send out dishes and wave to people like she did. I wouldn’t trail all my brothers and sisters into court like she did. I would be much more reserved and cold. I wouldn’t smile at anyone, I wouldn’t bow to anyone. I would be a true queen, a queen of ice, without family or friends.”

    I am so attracted by this picture that I am halfway out of my bed again. I pull off the fur cover from our bed and hold it up to her. “Like what? How would you be? Show me, Izzy!”

    She arranges it like a cape around her shoulders, throws her head back, draws herself up to her four feet six inches, and strides around the little chamber with her head very high, nodding distantly to imaginary courtiers. “Like this,” she says. “Comme ça, elegant, and unfriendly.”

    I jump out of bed and snatch up a shawl, throw it over my head, and follow her, mirroring her nod to right and left, looking as regal as Isabel. “How do you do?” I say to an empty chair. I pause as if listening to a request for some favor. “No, not at all. I won’t be able to help you, I am so sorry, I have already given that post to my sister.”

    “To my father, Lord Rivers,” Izzy adds.

    “To my brother Anthony—he’s so handsome.”

    “To my brother John, and a fortune to my sisters. There is nothing left for you at all. I have a large family,” Isabel says, being the new queen in her haughty drawl. “And they all must be accommodated. Richly accommodated.”

    “All of them,” I supplement. “Dozens of them. Did you see how many of them came into the great hall behind me? Where am I to find titles and land for all of them?”

    We walk in grand circles, and pass each other as we go by, inclining our heads with magnificent indifference. “And who are you?” I inquire coldly.

    “I am the Queen of England,” Isabel says, changing the game without warning. “I am Queen Isabel of England and France, newly married to King Edward. He fell in love with me for my beauty. He is mad for me. He has run completely mad for me and forgotten his friends and his duty. We married in secret, and now I am to be crowned queen.”

    “No, no, I was being the Queen of England,” I say, dropping the shawl and turning on her. “I am Queen Anne of England. I am the Queen of England. King Edward chose me.”

    “He never would, you’re the youngest.”

    “He did! He did!” I can feel the rise of my temper, and I know that I will spoil our play but I cannot bear to give her precedence once again, even in a game in our own chamber.

    “We can’t both be Queen of England,” she says reasonably enough. “You be the Queen of France, you can be the Queen of France. France is nice enough.”

    “England! I am the Queen of England. I hate France!”

    “Well you can’t be,” she says flatly. “I am the oldest. I chose first, I am the Queen of England and Edward is in love with me.”

    I am wordless with rage at her claiming of everything, her sudden enforcing of seniority, our sudden plunge from happy play to rivalry. I stamp my foot, my face flushes with temper, and I can feel hot tears in my eyes. “England! I am queen!”

    “You always spoil everything because you are such a baby,” she declares, turning away as the door behind us opens and Margaret comes into the room and says: “Time you were both asleep, my ladies. Gracious! What have you done to your bedspread?”

    “Isabel won’t let me . . .” I start. “She is being mean . . .”

    “Never mind that,” Margaret says briskly. “Into bed. You can share whatever it is tomorrow.”

    “She won’t share!” I gulp down salt tears. “She never does. We were playing but then . . .”

    Isabel laughs shortly as if my grief is comical and she exchanges a look with Margaret as if to say that the baby is having a temper tantrum again. This is too much for me. I let out a wail and I throw myself facedown on the bed. No one cares for me, no one will see that we were playing together, as equals, as sisters, until Isabel claimed something that was not hers to take. She should know that she should share. It is not right that I should come last, that I always come last. “It’s not right!” I say brokenly. “It’s not fair on me!”

    Isabel turns her back to Margaret, who unlaces the fastening of her gown and holds it low so that she can step out of it, disdainfully, like the queen she was pretending to be. Margaret spreads the gown over a chair, ready for powdering and brushing tomorrow, and Isabel pulls a nightgown over her head and lets Margaret brush her hair and plait it up.

    I lift my flushed face from the pillow to watch the two of them and Isabel glances across at my big tragic eyes and says shortly: “You should be asleep anyway. You always cry when you’re tired. You’re such a baby. You shouldn’t have been allowed to come to dinner.” She looks at Margaret, a grown woman of twenty, and says: “Margaret, tell her.”

    “Go to sleep, Lady Anne,” Margaret says gently. “There’s nothing to carry on about,” and I roll on my side and turn my face to the wall. Margaret should not speak to me like this, she is my mother’s lady-in-waiting and our half sister, and she should treat me more kindly. But nobody treats me with any respect, and my own sister hates me. I hear the ropes of the bed creak as Isabel gets in beside me. Nobody makes her say her prayers, though she will certainly go to hell. Margaret says: “Good night, sleep well, God bless,” and then blows out the candles and goes out of the room.

    We are alone together in the firelight. I feel Isabel heave the covers over to her side, and I lie still. She whispers, sharp with malice: “You can cry all night if you want, but I shall still be Queen of England and you will not.”

    “I am a Neville!” I squeak.

    “Margaret is a Neville.” Isabel proves her point. “But illegitimate, Father’s acknowledged bastard. So she serves as our lady-in-waiting, and she will marry some respectable man while I will marry a wealthy duke at the very least. And now I come to think of it, you are probably illegitimate too, and you will have to be my lady-in-waiting.”

    I feel a sob rising up in my throat, but I put both my hands over my mouth. I will not give her the satisfaction of hearing me cry. I will stifle my sobs. If I could stop my own breath I would; and then they would write to my father and say that I was quite cold and dead, and then she would be sorry that I was suffocated because of her unkindness, and my father—far away tonight—would blame her for the loss of his little girl that he loved above any other. At any rate, he ought to love me above any other. At any rate, I wish he did.

  • Reading Group Guide

    This reading group guide for The Kingmaker's Daughter includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Philippa Gregory. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


    Introduction

    The Kingmaker’s Daughter is an adventurous and exciting novel that tells the story of the daughters of the ruthless Earl of Warwick. Anne, the Earl’s youngest daughter and the novel’s narrator, is a fanciful young girl at the start of the story—but by the end, she has grown into a woman who knows of both the pleasures of love and the deep, devastating pain of loss.

    The destinies of Anne and her elder sister, Isabel, have been decided by their father, and they are used repeatedly as pawns in his plays for political power. But when he turns against Queen Elizabeth and King Edward IV, the same king he fought to put on the throne not so long ago, he is killed in battle, leaving Anne and Isabel to fend for themselves in the lives he has created for them. Their paths ultimately lead them to the court of Elizabeth and Edward, where it is never fully clear to them who is friend and who is foe. Anne and Isabel, both having married one of the King’s brothers, must fight to protect themselves and their families from a queen who appears to be ready to strike at any moment for the sins of their father.

    Throughout, the great wheel of fortune keeps turning: Both girls have to constantly choose between loyalty to their husband and loyalty to the other people that they love. The right course of action is never clear to them. In the end, as Anne lies on her deathbed in the company of Elizabeth’s beautiful eldest daughter, one thing is certain: “You can go very high and you can sink very low, but you can rarely turn the wheel at your own bidding” (ms-367).

    Topics & Questions for Discussion

    1. Anne, only eight years old when the novel begins, grows up over the course of the book’s twenty-year span. In what major ways does her voice change from the beginning of the novel to the end? At what point in the novel do you feel she makes a real transition from a young girl to a woman, and why?

    2. Consider the major turning points in Anne and Isabel’s relationship. How does their relationship progress as they grow up, marry, become mothers, and vie for power? At what point are they closest, and at what point are they the most distant? How do their views of each other change?

    3. If The Kingmaker’s Daughter was narrated by Isabel instead of Anne, in what major ways do you think the tone of the novel would change? How might the main characters be portrayed differently from Isabel’s point of view?

    4. Anne’s feelings toward Elizabeth Woodville grow colder as the novel progresses. Consider the below quotations from the beginning of the book, and discuss: What might the Queen Anne presented in the novel’s final pages have to say about her earlier words?
    a. “She is breathtaking: the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. At once I understand why the king stopped his army at the first sight of her, and married her within weeks.” (ms-1)
    b. “We don’t like the queen.” (ms-21)
    c. “I cannot see the queen as my enemy, because I cannot rid myself of the sense that she is in the right and we are in the wrong . . .” (ms-51)

    5. “You can go very high and you can sink very low, but you can rarely turn the wheel at your own bidding” (ms-367). The tarot card the Wheel of Fortune is a theme that runs throughout the novel. Discuss the Wheel of Fortune and its implications for each of the main characters. Does fortune favor any character in particular? Do you feel that the characters are at the mercy of fortune, or do they make or choose their own fates?

    6. Isabel is forever changed when she gives birth to a stillborn baby boy in a storm at sea. Anne notes that many people blame the tragedy on witchcraft, or an evil curse. Do you think Isabel agrees with their assessment? Who do you think Isabel, in her heart, blames for the death of her son: Her father? Herself? Anne? Who do you think is ultimately to blame, and why?

    7. It is clear that the men in the novel play a large part in shaping the destiny of the women around them—but what major decisions do the women in the novel make for themselves? Which female character do you feel is the most in control of herself and her path? Consider that character’s status in the novel; do you think her power, or lack of it, at court contributes to the power she holds over her own life?

    8. What role do the mothers in the novel play? Discuss how they are viewed and treated by their children, their daughters- and sons-in-law, and their husbands; do you think they are deserving of the treatment they receive? Also consider what it means to be a mother during the time period in which the novel takes place; what are a mother’s main responsibilities, and which mother in the novel do you think fulfills her responsibilities most successfully?

    9. Anne learns how to be a queen from both Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville. What virtues do each of these queens teach her, whether directly or indirectly, and how does she employ those virtues when she finally becomes the Queen of England? Ultimately, which queen do you feel had the stronger impact on Anne’s regal style?

    10. “I see Richard’s warmth toward her and I wonder again, what is courting and what is charade?” (ms-360) Consider the relationship that develops between Richard and young Elizabeth. How much of it do you think is truly a calculated political move by Richard to discredit her betrothal to Henry Tudor, as he protests, and how much of it is for his own pleasure? Further, how does his relationship with Elizabeth change his feelings for Anne? By the end of the novel, how has their love changed?

    11. Anne and Isabel’s father, the powerful and ruthless Earl of Warwick, is known throughout England as a powerful Kingmaker—yet, he is not the only “kingmaker” in the novel. Which other characters might you consider to be a maker of kings, and why? Which kingmaker do you feel is the most successful?

    12. Consider the different Kings and Queens who take the throne during the events of the novel. Who are feared by those around them? Who are liked? Who are respected? Of these three values—fear, love, and respect—which do you feel is the most important for a royal family to command from their subjects, and why?

    Enhance Your Book Club

    1. Much of the novel is set in or around the notorious Tower of London. At the Tower’s official website (http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/ ) you can take a virtual tour of the grounds and rooms—including the Bloody Tower, where the two sons of King Edward IV were held before they mysteriously disappeared.

    2. Christmastime was a time of great festivity for the King and Queen of England, a time in which they showcased their position through celebration. As Anne notes on page ms-337, “[Christmastime] is when people start to make a legend about our court and say it is as beautiful and as joyous and as noble as Camelot.
    a. Just as Richard commanded the best musicians, playwrights, and poets to do, create your own song, play, or poem for King Richard and Queen Anne. How would you praise them?
    b. Describe your own Christmastime celebration. If you were an English monarch, what festivities would you plan to showcase your court’s beauty, joyousness, and nobility?

    3. “Margaret of Anjou taught me not to hesitate, that there would be times when I have to see the best thing for myself and take that course without fear . . .” (ms-159). Do you agree with Margaret of Anjou’s teachings? Share with the members of your reading group a time when you had taken a course without fear, without hesitation. Were the results as you had hoped?

    4. Write each of the character’s names on slips of paper, and ask each of the members of your reading group to choose a name at random. Then, ask everyone to decide which three values are the most important to that character. Loyalty? Compassion? Power? Finally, discuss: Which characters share similar virtues? Which characters share opposite virtues?

    5. Philippa Gregory is the author of multiple bestselling novels and is a recognized authority on women’s history. To learn more about Philippa and her books, visit her website at http://www.philippagregory.com/ .


    A Conversation with Philippa Gregory

    When you began planning to write this book, the next installment in your Cousins’ War series, how did you settle upon Anne as the narrator? What is it about Anne Neville, her voice and her story that called for your attention?

    I wanted to write a book about both the Warwick daughters, but there is very little material available about both of them. Isabel dies earlier, so it was better to have Anne as the narrator. This is a bit of a cold-hearted technical choice – now I have researched her life and written a novel from her point of view. I must say that I have become tremendously fond of her, and I think her life demonstrates she was a courageous, persistent and determined woman who took her own decisions. A lot of the conventional histories of her life see her very much as a victim of the decisions of others – but I think she must have made many of her own decisions. Surely she could have gone into sanctuary as her mother did, when they landed in England and found that her father was dead? But instead she chose to march with the Lancaster army. Also, I don’t believe that Richard could have kidnapped her from her sister’s house and kept her in hiding before their wedding if she had been unwilling. Looking at her as a real person, facing real choices, has made her a deeply interesting character to me.

    Anne interprets Elizabeth Woodville to be her enemy for much of The Kingmaker’s Daughter; and yet, there are moments in which Anne senses that Elizabeth is truly in the right. Did you intentionally write the book in such a way that readers who may not be familiar with Elizabeth’s story would find themselves questioning how “evil” she really is? Was it difficult balancing her good and “evil” values through Anne’s narration of her?

    All of the books of this series have been involved with the different viewpoints of the different players of the Wars of the Roses, which were known at the time as the ‘Cousins’ War.’ There are times when Elizabeth is clearly in the right – as a crowned ordained queen facing rebels. But there are times when Anne and the reader must question what Elizabeth is doing. It’s been a complex and complicated series to write and there are no clear heroes or villains – though of course everyone will have their favorites. In this book especially, I wanted us to see how Anne’s first star-struck view of Elizabeth turns into fear, that Elizabeth inspired fear, but that also Elizabeth could be seen in a number of ways.

    At the end of the book, Anne narrates, “I think of my childhood when Isabel and I were little girls and played at being queens. It is incredible to me that I am twenty-eight years old . . . and I no longer have any desire to be queen.”. If twenty-eight-year-old Anne could give eight-year-old Anne just one piece of advice for her future, what do you imagine it would be?

    I think she would advise her to disobey her father early on, run away, and not to be trapped in the world of royal ambition at all. But of course, the eight-year-old Anne would not understand or follow such advice. Her father loomed very large for her for all her childhood, and her family was devoted to their ambition.

    On her deathbed, Anne dreams of her father sacrificing his horse as a pledge to his men. Why did you choose this particular scene for Anne to imagine as the novel comes to a close? What, ultimately, would you like your readers to take away from the novel about the Earl?

    The story of the death of his horse is a very potent story about the Earl of Warwick – and it is said to have happened at two of his battles! I wanted Anne to imagine it on her deathbed because the thought of a life after death comforts her – as she dies so very young, and as she thinks of her dead child. I found it a powerful and moving image about the price of ambition. I’d like readers to think of the Earl of Warwick as the complex man that he was: hugely courageous, a man who made his own destiny, and hugely ambitious – for himself and his family. The book perhaps suggests that ambition is damaging and dangerous, so although it is a story about the kingmaker – about the highest political power – it suggests to the reader that sometimes the price is too high.

    When talking with GoodReads.com, you discuss your intent to help develop the studies of women who are often forgotten, or thought of as stereotypical female roles, rather than remembered as the powerful political figures that they are. In your opinion, who is responsible for these women having been forgotten or remembered incorrectly in the first place, and who is responsible for making it right?

    The women mostly had no political power – only the power that they could establish for themselves behind the scenes, and through their relationships to powerful men. So when histories are written and they focus on actions and decisions it is not surprising that they leave out the stories of women. To historians writing political history or military history there are simply almost no women in the story. Then I think there is a misogyny in history which judges women very harshly, and a laziness which allows careless stereotyping of women which would not be allowed for men – (like Henry VIII’s wives: the old one, the sexy one, the good one…). These are some of the reasons that history neglects or misjudges women, and it is the responsibility of all historians to correct these mistakes. Naturally, someone who is a woman, and who is interested in women, and is a feminist is going to be someone who will take to this work with great relish – that’s me! But there are also many many historians, both men and women, who take a particular pleasure in researching the stories of interesting women.

    In another interview, this one on BookBrowse.com, you mention that you were writing as a journalist before you began writing fiction. Do you think that your skills as a journalist helped to inform your skills as a writer of historical fiction? If so, how? As a former journalist, do you feel more pressure to “get it right” when dealing with historical events?

    The pressure for historical accuracy comes from my work as an historian: I studied history for seven years before I wrote a novel. But for four years before that I wrote as a journalist for newspapers and for the BBC and it was a good training in terms of writing quickly, daily, and on time. Also, as a journalist, you know that you have to simply sit down and write, you don’t tell your editor that you’re waiting for inspiration!

    You’ve now written an astounding twenty-four books. Was the experience of writing some of those books different than others? Which book was the most difficult to write, and why do you think that is?

    Every book is different from another. I think the most difficult was the second book of my career, The Favored Child. That came after the great success of Wideacre and everyone was keen to know if I would be able to write another good book – of course, I didn’t know either. It went through 12 drafts, the most rewriting I have ever done. I am amazed at how many books there are – but then I remember that I have been writing for 30 years. It’s a very long career.

    Historical fiction books and other media (movies, television shows, and more) are experiencing a huge rise in popularity as of late. Why do you think this is?

    I think people are interested in history during times of uncertainty, such as we are experiencing now. Also, the revolution in the 1950s of the way that history was researched and written has percolated through to popular exposition of history, and is proving to be very interesting to general readers as well as historians. The ‘new’ history is about narratives of ordinary people, social history, and so is far more interesting than the way that history used to be studied and then taught.

    There is to be an upcoming BBC1 drama adapted from your Cousins’ War books, and The Other Boleyn Girl was made into a major motion picture. What is it like to see your writing brought to life on screen? Were you at all fearful of how your stories would be interpreted by directors and actors?

    It’s always a bit unnerving when you have imagined something very strongly, to have to hand it over to another creative person who will have their views of how it should be done – but filmmaking is a collaborative business and it is also an adventure and a pleasure to see what good scriptwriters and good directors and good actors will do with a story. It’s thrilling to see the title come up on a big cinema screen… that’s a great moment.

    Can you give us a glimpse into the project you’re currently working on? Is it another book in the Cousins’ War series? (Fingers crossed!)

    I’m currently working on The White Princess, the story of Elizabeth of York, and I am loving the research and the writing.

    Interviews

    A Conversation with Philippa Gregory

    When you began planning to write this book, the next installment in your Cousins' War series, how did you settle upon Anne as the narrator? What is it about Anne, her voice and her story that called for your attention?

    I wanted to write a book about both the Warwick daughters, but there is very little material available about both of them. Isabel dies earlier, so it was better to have Anne as the narrator. This is a bit of a cold-hearted technical choice — now I have researched her life and written a novel from her point of view. I must say that I have become tremendously fond of her, and I think her life demonstrates she was a courageous, persistent and determined woman who took her own decisions. A lot of the conventional histories of her life see her very much as a victim of the decisions of others — but I think she must have made many of her own decisions. Surely she could have gone into sanctuary as her mother did, when they landed in England and found that her father was dead? But instead she chose to march with the Lancaster army. Also, I don't believe that Richard could have kidnapped her from her sister's house and kept her in hiding before their wedding if she had been unwilling. Looking at her as a real person, facing real choices, has made her a deeply interesting character to me.

    Anne interprets Elizabeth Woodville to be her enemy for much of The Kingmaker's Daughter; and yet, there are moments in which Anne senses that Elizabeth is truly in the right. Did you intentionally write the book in such a way that readers who may not be familiar with Elizabeth's story would find themselves questioning how “evil” she really is? Was it difficult balancing her good and “evil” values through Anne's narration of her?

    All of the books of this series have been involved with the different viewpoints of the different players of the Wars of the Roses, which were known at the time as the 'Cousins' War'. There are times when Elizabeth is clearly in the right — as a crowned ordained queen facing rebels. But there are times when Anne and the reader must question what Elizabeth is doing. It's been a complex and complicated series to write and there are no clear heroes or villains — though of course everyone will have their favourites. In this book especially, I wanted us to see how Anne's first star-struck view of Elizabeth turns into fear, that Elizabeth inspired fear, but that also Elizabeth could be seen in a number of ways.

    At the end of the book, Anne narrates, “I think of my childhood when Isabel and I were little girls and played at being queens. It is incredible to me that I am twenty-eight years old . . . and I no longer have any desire to be queen” (ms-362). If twenty-eight-year-old Anne could give eight-year-old Anne just one piece of advice for her future, what do you imagine it would be?


    I think she would advise her to disobey her father early on, run away, and not to be trapped in the world of royal ambition at all. But of course, the eight-year-old Anne would not understand or follow such advice. Her father loomed very large for her for all her childhood, and her family was devoted to their ambition.

    On her deathbed, Anne dreams of her father sacrificing his horse as a pledge to his men. Why did you choose this particular scene for Anne to imagine as the novel comes to a close? What, ultimately, would you like your readers to take away from the novel about the Earl?

    The story of the death of his horse is a very potent story about the Earl of Warwick — and it is said to have happened at two of his battles! I wanted Anne to imagine it on her deathbed because the thought of a life after death comforts her — as she dies so very young, and as she thinks of her dead child. I found it a powerful and moving image about the price of ambition. I'd like readers to think of the Earl of Warwick as the complex man that he was: hugely courageous, a man who made his own destiny, and hugely ambitious — for himself and his family. The book perhaps suggests that ambition is damaging and dangerous, so although it is a story about the kingmaker — about the highest political power — it suggests to the reader that sometimes the price is too high.

    When talking with www.goodreads.com, you discuss your intent to help develop the studies of women who are often forgotten, or thought of as stereotypical female roles, rather than remembered as the powerful political figures that they are. In your opinion, who is responsible for these women having been forgotten or remembered incorrectly in the first place, and who is responsible for making it right?

    The women mostly had no political power — only the power that they could establish for themselves behind the scenes, and through their relationships to powerful men. So when histories are written and they focus on actions and decisions it is not surprising that they leave out the stories of women. To historians writing political history or military history there are simply almost no women in the story. Then I think there is a misogyny in history which judges women very harshly, and a laziness which allows careless stereotyping of women which would not be allowed for men — (like Henry VIII's wives: the old one, the sexy one, the good one….). These are some of the reasons that history neglects or misjudges women, and it is the responsibility of all historians to correct these mistakes. Naturally, someone who is a woman, and who is interested in women, and is a feminist is going to be someone who will take to this work with great relish — that's me! But there are also many many historians, both men and women, who take a particular pleasure in researching the stories of interesting women.

    In another interview, this one on www.bookbrowse.com, you mention that you were writing as a journalist before you began writing fiction. Do you think that your skills as a journalist helped to inform your skills as a writer of historical fiction? If so, how? As a former journalist, do you feel more pressure to “get it right” when dealing with historical events?

    The pressure for historical accuracy comes from my work as an historian: I studied history for seven years before I wrote a novel. But for four years before that I wrote as a journalist for newspapers and for the BBC and it was a good training in terms of writing quickly, daily, and on time. Also, as a journalist, you know that you have to simply sit down and write, you don't tell your editor that you're waiting for inspiration!

    You've now written an astounding twenty-four books. Was the experience of writing some of those books different than others? Which book was the most difficult to write, and why do you think that is?

    Every book is different from another. I think the most difficult was the second book of my career, The Favored Child. That came after the great success of Wideacre and everyone was keen to know if I would be able to write another good book — of course, I didn't know either. It went through 12 drafts, the most rewriting I have ever done. I am amazed at how many books there are — but then I remember that I have been writing for 30 years. It's a very long career.

    Historical fiction books and other media (movies, television shows, and more) are experiencing a huge rise in popularity as of late. Why do you think this is?

    I think people are interested in history during times of uncertainty, such as we are experiencing now. Also, the revolution in the 1950s of the way that history was researched and written has percolated through to popular exposition of history, and is proving to be very interesting to general readers as well as historians. The 'new' history is about narratives of ordinary people, social history, and so is far more interesting than the way that history used to be studied and then taught.

    There is to be an upcoming BBC1 drama adapted from your Cousins' War books, and The Other Boleyn Girl was made into a major motion picture. What is it like to see your writing brought to life on screen? Were you at all fearful of how your stories would be interpreted by directors and actors?


    It's always a bit unnerving when you have imagined something very strongly, to have to hand it over to another creative person who will have their views of how it should be done — but filmmaking is a collaborative business and it is also an adventure and a pleasure to see what good scriptwriters and good directors and good actors will do with a story. It's thrilling to see the title come up on a big cinema screen, that's a great moment.

    Can you give us a glimpse into the project you're currently working on? Is it another book in the Cousins' War series? (Fingers crossed!)


    I'm currently working on The White Princess, the story of Elizabeth of York, and I am loving the research and the writing.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See All Customer Reviews

    The Kingmaker's Daughter 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 112 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    There is very little of Gregory's work I don't enjoy (wasn't too crazy about the Mary, Queen of Scots novel, for instance) but her latest efforts with "The Cousins' War" novels have been exceptional. Told from the perspective of Anne Neville, wife of Richard III, we see the tragic and horrific consequences of being a woman and used, almost inexclusively, as a political and sexual pawn for men deperately trying to keep or gain a crown. Gregory has such a superb approach to her work it's just a great read from beginning to end. This novel is a bit shorter than some of the others (probably out of necessity as Neville died young at 28) and keeps a fast, engaging pace. Characters are generally easy to keep track of--that is sometimes a barrier in these historical novels--and if you have read her previous "Red Queen" "White Queen" and "Lady of the Rivers" you should not have much problem following this angle of the War of the Roses. That being said, the countless Edwards and Richards--good Lord, every other man was given the same name...so you have to pay a bit more attention there--and as I read I kept thinking that skimming through the "Queen/Rivers" novels again would help jog a memory or two. However, as a whole, Gregory continues to write literate, readable historical fiction--she's very dependable, which I so appreciate. Am also looking forward to the next installment as she says in her "Afterword" it will present some of her ideas on what happened to the two royal princes who disappeared from the Tower...maybe or maybe not at the hands of their uncle, Richard III.
    Mirella More than 1 year ago
    Anne Neville was a lesser known noblewoman and queen of England. In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, Philippa Gregory brings Anne to vibrant life by writing about her difficult life and subsequent rise to glory as Queen of England. What is most heart-wrenching about Anne’s story is that she and her sister, Isabel, were pawns to the men in their lives whose quest for power was relentless. Although Anne is not the spirited, feisty heroine of other historical biographical novels, she is truly fascinating. It is important that these women’s lives are written about, not only to show the extent of their suffering at the hands of the men surrounding them, but to clearly reflect the true status of women and their lack of rights in all eras of history. What is important is that Philippa Gregory has written a true and accurate accounting of this woman’s life, and that is what I applaud highly. Her conflict with Elizabeth Woodville is deep and all encompassing throughout the novel and makes for a fascinating story-line. Although Anne is not the fiery heroine, the conflict surrounding her is all consuming and makes for fast page-turning. The novel captures the reader’s interest from the very first to the very last page. It is eloquently written with believable characters, an incredible amount of brilliant descriptions, and wonderful emotion. The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the fourth book in a series about the women in Cousin’s War Series - Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Jacquetta Woodville. It is not necessary to read this in any particular order. It is fascinating to see how the author moves between these characters, fairly depicting them and their personalities, despite their faults. Fans of Philippa Gregory will definitely enjoy this novel set in a disorderly and dangerous period in England’s rich history. I highly recommend this! What a wonderful story!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The cousin's war is an excellent series The characters are well developed, enjoyable, and memorable In this novel the king makers daughters are developed in a similar fashio to the bolyn girls Both are born and bred to be queen, yet only one is truly corrupt enough to cast aside those who really care Great read and helps with the understanding of the fued between the families for the crown
    Jai0411 More than 1 year ago
    If any book by Philippa tells the story about the "role" of women during this time period, its definitely this book. I'm so intrigued to go back and read all books in this series again just to re live the intertwined relationships of the fascinating Isabel and Anne Neville, Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth Woodville and even Margaret of Anjou and Jacquetta. From beginning to end this book had me captured!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is the story of Anne Neville, the daughter of Warwick, the Kingmaker. She became the wife of Richard III and died young. It is told is great contrast to her novel The White Queen, which is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, queen to Edward IV and mother of the Princes in the Tower. The whole novel takes place during the Cousins War, or what becomes known later as the War of the Roses. I read this book in 3 days. Fantastic read. I felt as though I was in 1400's and in the middle of all the battles and intrigue.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    History from the woman's perspective, imagined but I would imagine close to the truth. Women shaped the times from behind the scenes and I have a better understanding of all the people of that time through this look through the women. This applies to all of Phillipa Gregory’s books.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Another winner in the series! If you like her other books you will love this as well. She has a great way of turning history into a nonstop pageturning drama. I end up reading until the we hours of the morning even if its the 15th time ive read that particular book. If you like historical fiction and have never given this aurthor a try, any of her books are worth a read. And whats great about her Tudor and Cousins War series is that you dont have to read them in the order they were published, especially the Cousins series. So enjoy.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I have read many books by this author and this will rate as one of my favorites. This book tells the story of the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of Anne Neville. I would give it 4.5 stars.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Here is history from an unexpected point of view victim or owner of her own destiny, anne neville turns out to be a very likable character and offers another point of view on this chapter of english history and leaves you wondering who was right and had the right in this war, must read
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book revisits characters from several of Philippa's others set in this time period, but from a different character's perspective. I enjoyed it very much!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I am a great fan of Philippa Gregory. I have read almost all of her books and I love the way she combines fiction with English history
    UCFJennybean More than 1 year ago
    I love almost everything Philippa Gregory writes. The Kingmaker's Daughter, to me, was only so-so and not the strongest in the Cousin's War series. Anne comes across as a ninny and unimpressive throughout the book despite all she overcame and dealt with. I far preferred the portrayal of her 2nd husband, Richard, as he has not always been portrayed well in other books. Although the witchcraft around Elizabeth Woodville is not new to the series and is being portrayed from a different perspective in this book, it did not lend itself to the same excitement as in other books. I became tired of Anne's constant whining about Elizabeth Woodville being a witch. I did not find Anne a sympathetic or relatable character; she felt childlike and overly naive throughout the entire book. It is not a terrible book but it is not one I will re-read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    One of the best historical fiction writers around, Gregory does an amazing job combining fact and fiction. I love the aspects of witchcraft she weavea through the stories. You'll learn about history without even knowing.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Shows how the youngest daughter of Warwick might have felt.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago