Kingmaker's Daughter (Gregory) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
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?

  1. 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.
  2. We don’t like the queen.
  3. 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.

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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