Friday, January 4, 2013

Book review: The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousin's War, #4)The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where I got the book: purchased through Waterstones. UK edition, signed.

Despite my eternal resolutions not to read any more of this Cousins' War series I couldn't resist getting a signed copy at the Historical Novel Society conference, so here I am reviewing yet another of these books and noting pretty much exactly the same things that annoy me with all the others.

This one covers the story of Anne Neville, wife of Richard of Gloucester aka Richard III. Her father is the political mover and shaker Warwick, whose intention is that whatever side of the York/Lancaster divide rules England, he should be standing behind it.

And...I'm already too bored to continue. Let's recap:

- maaaaagic. Mercifully Anne herself declares she doesn't believe in witchcraft, but that doesn't stop her from believing that the bad things that happen to her family could have witchy origins. Storms? Witch. Sickly child? Witch. Sudden death? Witch. Someone else being way more successful than you? WITCHWITCHWITCH OK you get the idea. Yawn.

- PG's characters relentlessly explain to each other who they're talking about. "Your mother-in-law, the Duchess Cecily"..."your husband George Duke of Clarence"..."Margaret Beaufort...the wife of my friend, the trusted Lord Thomas Stanley, whom I made Lord Chamberlin"... Ya know, at some point you've just got to trust the reader to be able to follow the plot.

- PG is writing about women in a world where men did all the doing and the women stayed at home and made babies (or not). Consequently, practically all of the action in TKMD happens offstage. The only really vivid scene (which was very well done) WAS ABOUT HAVING A BABY. *headdesk* There were some great--GREAT--scenes that only happened in the retelling and I longed to actually SEE them.

- hard-to-like characters. Nope, can't think of a single one I actually liked, including Anne. And they all sound the same, have you noticed?

And yet PG's a good writer and I'm going to say it yet again: please, PLEASE get shot of this series and go back to making stuff up, PG (I wrote that with a completely straight face. Honest.)

One thing I DID like about the book and that was the quality of the UK binding. From Croydon, that was. Saaarf London quality, innit?

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