The Kingmaker's Daughter (Cousins' War, 4)
Philippa Gregory, 2012
Simon & Schuster
In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a novel of conspiracy and a fight to the death for love and power at the court of Edward IV of England.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his daughters Anne and Isabel as pawns in his political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.
At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Married at age fourteen, she is soon left widowed and fatherless, her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Anne manages her own escape by marrying Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will set her on a collision course with the overwhelming power of the royal family and will cost the lives of those she loves most in the world, including her precious only son, Prince Edward. Ultimately, the kingmaker’s daughter will achieve her father’s greatest ambition. (From the publisher.)
• Birth—January 9, 1954
• Where—Nairobi, Kenya
• Raised—Bristol, England, UK
• Education—B.A., Sussex University; Ph.D., Edinburgh University
• Currently—lives in the North York Moors, Yorkshire, England
Philippa Gregory is a British historical novelist, writing since 1987. The best known of her works is The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), which in 2002 won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award from the Romantic Novelists' Association.
Early life and academic career
Philippa Gregory was in Nairobi, Kenya, the second daughter of Elaine (Wedd) and Arthur Percy Gregory, a radio operator and navigator for East African Airways. When she was two years old, her family moved to Bristol, England.
She was a "rebel" at Colston's Girls' School where she obtained a B grade in English and two E grades in History and Geography at A-level. She then went to journalism college in Cardiff and spent a year as an apprentice with the Portsmouth News before she managed to gain a place on an English literature degree course at the University of Sussex, where she switched to a history course.
She worked in BBC radio for two years before attending the University of Edinburgh, where she earned her doctorate in 18th-century literature. Gregory has taught at the University of Durham, University of Teesside, and the Open University, and was made a Fellow of Kingston University in 1994.
Gregory wrote her first novel Wideacre while completing a PhD in 18th-century literature and living in a cottage on the Pennine Way with first husband Peter Chislett, editor of the Hartlepool Mail, and their baby daughter, Victoria. They divorced before the book was published.
Following the success of Wideacre and the publication of The Favoured Child, she moved south to near Midhurst, West Sussex, where the Wideacre trilogy was set. Here she married her second husband Paul Carter, with whom she has a son. She divorced for a second time and married Anthony Mason, whom she had first met during her time in Hartlepool.
Gregory now lives on a 100-acre (0.40 km2) farm in the North York Moors national park, with her husband, children and stepchildren (six in all). Her interests include riding, walking, skiing, and gardening.
She has written novels set in several different historical periods, though primarily the Tudor period and the 16th century. Reading a number of novels set in the 17th century led her to write the bestselling Lacey trilogy — Wideacre, which is a story about the love of land and incest, The Favoured Child and Meridon. This was followed by The Wise Woman. A Respectable Trade, a novel of the slave trade in England, set in 18th-century Bristol, was adapted by Gregory for a four-part drama series for BBC television. Gregory's script was nominated for a BAFTA, won an award from the Committee for Racial Equality, and the film was shown worldwide.
Two novels about a gardening family are set during the English Civil War: Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth. She has also written contemporary fiction—Perfectly Correct; Mrs Hartley And The Growth Centre; The Little House; and Zelda's Cut. She has also written for children.
Some of her novels have won awards and have been adapted into television dramas. The most successful of her novels has been The Other Boleyn Girl, published in 2002 and adapted for BBC television in 2003 with Natascha McElhone, Jodhi May and Jared Harris. In the year of its publication, The Other Boleyn Girl also won the Romantic Novel of the Year and has subsequently spawned sequels—The Queen's Fool, The Virgin's Lover, The Constant Princess, The Boleyn Inheritance, and The Other Queen. Miramax bought the film rights to The Other Boleyn Girl and produced a film of the same name starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn and co-starring Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, Eric Bana as Henry Tudor, Juno Temple as Jane Parker, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Elizabeth Boleyn. It was filmed in England and generally released in 2008.
Gregory has also published a series of books about the Plantagenets, the ruling houses that preceded the Tudors, and the Wars of the Roses. Her first book The White Queen (2009), centres on the life of Elizabeth Woodville the wife of Edward IV. The Red Queen (2010) is about Margaret Beaufort the mother of Henry VII and grandmother to Henry VIII. The Lady of the Rivers (2011) is the life of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, first married to John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, younger brother of Henry the Fifth. The Kingmaker's Daughter (2012) is the story of Anne Neville, the daughter of the Earl of Warwick, the wife of Richard III. The next book, The White Princess (2013), centres on the life of Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and the mother of Henry VIII.
In her novel The Other Boleyn Girl, her portrayal of Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn drew criticism. The novel depicts Anne as cold and ruthless, as well as heavily implying that the accusations that she committed adultery and incest with her brother were true, despite it being widely accepted that she was innocent of the charges. Novelist Robin Maxwell refused on principle to write a blurb for this book, describing its characterisation of Anne as "vicious, unsupportable." Historian David Starkey, appearing alongside Gregory in a documentary about Anne Boleyn, described her work as "good Mills and Boon" (a publisher of romance novels), adding that: "We really should stop taking historical novelists seriously as historians. The idea that they have authority is ludicrous." Susan Bordo criticized Gregory's claims to historical accuracy as "self-deceptive and self-promoting chutzpah", and notes that it is not so much the many inaccuracies in her work as "Gregory’s insistence on her meticulous adherence to history that most aggravates the scholars."
Gregory is a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers, with short stories, features and reviews. She is also a frequent broadcaster and a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. She won the 29 December 2008 edition of Celebrity Mastermind on BBC1, taking Elizabeth Woodville as her specialist subject.
Gregory also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia. Gardens for The Gambia was established in 1993 when Gregory was in The Gambia, researching for her book A Respectable Trade.
Since then the charity has dug almost 200 low technology, low budget and therefore easily maintained wells, which are on-stream and providing water to irrigate school and community gardens to provide meals for the poorest children and harvest a cash crop to buy school equipment, seeds and tools.
In addition to wells, the charity has piloted a successful bee-keeping scheme, funded feeding programmes and educational workshops in batik and pottery and is working with larger donors to install mechanical boreholes in some remote areas of the country where the water table is not accessible by digging alone. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 9/22/2013.)
The bonds of sisterhood infuse Gregory’s latest in the Cousin’s War series (after The Lady of the Rivers). The stakes are high as Anne and Isabel Neville, daughters of the earl of Warwick (“The Kingmaker”), vie for their father’s favor and a chance at the throne. The earl has long mentored the young King Edward and Edward’s brothers George and Richard in hopes of marrying his daughters into royalty. But when Edward weds the commoner Elizabeth Woodville, the Kingmaker arranges a secret marriage between Isabel and George, and launches an uprising that will result in the earl’s death, leaving Isabel entangled in a dangerous political web and Anne—having recently married—already a widow. However, Richard—a tough soldier who honors family obligations while his brothers sell out—soon comes to Anne’s rescue. In addition to Gregory handling a complicated history, she convincingly details women’s lives in the 1400s and the competitive love between sisters. By the book’s end, Anne and Richard have ascended the throne, but the War of the Roses has yet to be won, setting the stage for a sequel showdown.
In the next entry (after The Lady of the Rivers) in Gregory's historical series about the War of the Roses...the Earl of Warwick, who put Edward of York on the throne after battling the Lancasters....uses his daughters as pawns in the fluid political situation [of the royal court].... Verdict: Gregory delivers another vivid and satisfying novel of court intrigue, revenge, and superstition. Gregory's many fans as well as readers who enjoy lush, evocative writing, vividly drawn characters, and fascinating history told from a woman's point of view will love her latest work. —Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX
The latest of Gregory's Cousins' War series debunks—mostly—the disparaging myths surrounding Richard III and his marriage to Anne Neville. Anne and her sister Isabel are both used without hesitation as political bargaining chips by their father, Richard, Earl of Warwick. True to his sobriquet, "Kingmaker," Warwick engineered the downfall of the Lancastrian King Henry VI...and supplanted him with Edward IV.... The chief threat to the realm is not Richard but Queen Elizabeth: A reputed witch with a grudge against Warwick's daughters (Warwick killed her father and brother), she will not be happy until Isabel, Anne and their progeny (and if necessary her brothers-in-law) are dead. Although their fates are known, Gregory creates suspense by raising intriguing questions about whether her characters will transcend their historical reputations.
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?
5.“You can go very high and you can sink very low, but you can rarely turn the wheel at your own bidding." 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?” 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?
(Questions issued by publisher.)
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