Book Review: The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

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Read between: 11th- 15th September
Format: Paperback
Number if pages: 452
Published: May 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: ‘I have lost my father in battle, my sister to Elizabeth Woodville’s spy, my brother-in-law to Elizabeth Woodville’s executioner, my nephew to her poisoner, and now my son to her curse…’
The gripping and ultimately tragic story of Anne Neville and her sister Isabel, the daughters of the Earl of Warwick, the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins’ Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he ruthlessly uses the two girls as pawns but they, in their own right, are thoughtful and powerful actors.
Against the backdrop of the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne turns from a delightful child growing up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard Duke of York to become ever more fearful and desperate as her father’s enemies turn against her, the net closes in and there is, in the end, simply nowhere she can turn, no one she can trust with her life.

Rating: Image result for five stars

Review:
Anne Neville is a girl who has to obey her father- her life is controlled by her father, Richard, Earl of Warwick- the Kingmaker. She’s an innocent young girl, stuck in the middle of the War of the Roses.

She hates Elizabeth Woodville, the new queen- that’s clear from the very beginning, and has to watch everything her father built up fall under her reign. So she has every right to dislike her! Then Anne finds herself betrothed to the Prince of France- her sister Isabel is already married to George, Duke of Clarence. Both men are eager to replace Edward themselves, both girls want to be Queen of England.

Once again, it’s Brother vs Brother- Cousin vs Cousin. Sister vs Sister. 

Poor Anne has to deal with the loss of her sister through it all, but her fighting spirit and hatred for the Rivers keeps her strong. Strong enough to rise up, and up, to achieve her father’s ambition for her- to become Queen of England.

Which happens when Richard, Duke of Gloucester, her cousin, brother-in-law, saviour and husband, becomes King Richard III.

As a couple, their story is also interesting, but Anne’s is even more so. I enjoyed her story more than I though I would. In a time period  where girls were deemed to be wives and mothers – she proves to be so much more.

Philippa Gregory focuses on the women of history- usually over looked by their husband’s,  and I am glad she told the story of Anne Neville. Away from the court, monarchy, the war- I felt for Anne.

She never really got her own say in her life until Richard saves her from imprisonment by her sister. 

She deals with death, betrayal, as well as love. Her story is fascinating.

5/5 stars.

Gregory has done it again, and let me see through the eyes of Anne, Queen of England, and really understand her story. 

Thanks for reading!

~Katie

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Book Review: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:

Read between: 7th- 11th September
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 405
Published: 14th April, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England.

Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Rating: 3-5-stars

Review: This book follows Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the House of Lancaster (hence the Red Queen- red being the colour of the Lancaster rose) and her rise and fall in society and the royal court during the War of the Roses.

Margaret is very devout to her religion which probably helps her get through life considering she is married off at 12, and goes through a very brutal birth to her only child, Henry Tudor, before becoming a widow at 13. So- not a very happy start  to her life, especially at such a young age!

A big part of this book focuses on her hatred for Elizabeth Woodville and the rest of the Rivers family- mainly because she’s jealous (a trait I didn’t like). She wants her son, Henry, on the throne of England and will stop at nothing to make that happen.

This includes ordering the murder of the princes in the tower (which her husband ends up covering up to blame King Richard III!)

However, I really liked her character, even if she could be very jealous and childish- but as she got older, she got more ambitious. Everything she did, she did for her son and for herself.

The fact that this book crosses over with the events of ‘The White Queen’ made it a lot easier to follow. I already had an idea of the story, but this time it was from a different point of view.

Both the Red Queen and the White Queen are formidable women, so it’s easy to see why they don’t get on, but they do end up working with each other to try and remove Richard from the throne of England. Neither believe he belongs there.

I really enjoyed Margaret’s story- she had a touch childhood, she hardened, and then she became the woman that she wanted to be. Margaret Regina.

3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed the story but sometimes felt the character let herself down in her spouts of jealousy and anger.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Haul! 

This is a collective book haul for August and September. I know it’s only the 9th of September but I’m not going to buy any more books this month- I want to focus on my TBR.

The first book that isn’t in the picture is Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. Why you may ask? Well, I have read the entirety of the Twilight saga but I’ve never owned Breaking Dawn! So I now have the whole series 🙂 

In my August Illumicrate I got an ARC of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen. No idea what it’s about but it looks like a Sci-fi so I can’t wait to get to that. 

I also got Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Hyped for that!

Next I got The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani- I got the second one in a giveaway so I thought I’d get the first one so I can actually start the series! 

Again with completing series- I own A Conjuring of the Light which I got in a Goodreads giveaway- so I got A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows so now I can binge the trilogy! 😀

Finally- I got books 5 and 6 in the Poldark series meaning I am up to date with the TV show tie in novels. 🙂 

What books did you guys get this month?

Thanks for reading!

~ Katie

The ‘Nope’ Book Tag

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I wasn’t tagged to do this tag, but I saw it on Destiny’s blog howling libraries and I thought it looked like fun- because everyone loves unpopular opinions! If you disagree with me on any of my answers, don’t hate me! I’m just stating my opinion which I’m entitled to 🙂

NOPE. ending: a book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simple because the ending was crappy.

This was a pretty difficult one, but there’s two- but I’m going for the ending of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I just- I don’t know, after books that were hugely focus on the deaths of children it was suddenly happy and fluffy for Katniss and Peeta. If I’d survived the Hunger Games I’d be traumatised for life! They just got on with life!

NOPE. protagonist: a main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

Anne from Anne of Green Gables. Yes, I know she is a child but I never connected with her, and she’s the main reason I haven’t read any more in the series than the first book! I like a talkative character- but Anne just didn’t shut up….

Or America from The Selection series.

Or Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars!
There are so many!

NOPE. series: a series that turned out to be a huge pile of NOPE after you’ve invested all that time and energy on it (or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore)

The Selection series by Kiera Cass. I’ve read them in their entirety, but honestly,after the third it should have just stopped because it then dragged on with a really annoying main character. I’m just glad I got them all of of Netgalley and didn’t actually buy any of them..

NOPE. pairing: a ship you don’t support

Katniss/Peeta. I wanted her to end up with Gale so I was very disappointed.

NOPE. plot twist: a twist you didn’t see coming and didn’t like.

As the blog I took this from said, Divergent. Urgh that plot twist- I didn’t see it coming and then I was annoyed because Tris made a really stupid decision and then- yeah. There’s been plenty of plot twists I haven’t seen coming but loved so this answer is the only one that really fits.

NOPE. protagonist decision: a character decision that made you shake your head.

Tris made some pretty bad decisions, as did Bella from Twilight. I think a lot of YA heroines make some pretty bad decisions- especially if it’s dystopia, so yeah, I can’t choose one. Sorry for the cop out!

NOPE. genre: a genre  you will never read

Erotica- aka Fifty Shades of Grey. I won’t go anywhere near that genre because I’ve heard many of them are really badly written- apart from the smutty scenes.

NOPE. book format: book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition

Huge hardbacks! They’re heavy and they don’t fit on my shelves- so I usually wait for the much smaller and accessible paperback version to come out so my arm doesn’t ache too much and they fit on my shelf lovely.

NOPE. trope: a trope that makes you go NOPE

Insta-love. Love traingles (here’s looking at you Twilight). Characters making terrible decisions….

NOPE. recommendation: a book recommendation that is constantly pushed at  you, that you simply refuse to read.

Anything by John Green- I’ve read two of his books now and I don’t see the appeal, so if anyone recommends me a John Green book there is a very high chance I won’t read it!

NOPE. cliche: a cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes

Insta-love, love triangles, cheating! I’m a romantic and I hate the whole insta-love thing where the female character falls in love with the male character (who turns out to not be good for her). There are some exceptions obviously.

I hate it when characters cheat though- it makes me doubt their relationship.

NOPE. love interest: the love interest that’s not worthy being one.

Edward Cullen- don’t get me wrong I love Twilight because of the nostalgia it brings me, but he’s a creep, he’s dangerous, and the more he pushes Bella away the more she wants him. Oh, and he’s a vampire but it’s not like he mentions that or anything…

NOPE. book: a book that shouldn’t have existed

The Fault in Our Stars- it uses cancer as a way to create a romance. Also the male protagonist is so arrogant and, yeah- I didn’t take to it at all.

NOPE. villain: a villain you would hate to cross

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Professor James Moriarty is evil because he’s clever and you definitely wouldn’t want to cross him!

NOPE. death: a character death that still haunts you

Fred Weasley 😦
Out of all of the character deaths in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is Fred’s death that hurts the most. The Weasley twins are my favourites and I can’t imagine them being separated so yes

Fred.

NOPE. author: an author you had a bad experience reading for and decided to quit.

John Green.

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Book Review: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory 

Read between: 1st- 6th September.

Format: Paperback

Published: 2009

Publisher: Simon & Schuster.

Synopsis: 1464. Cousin is at war with cousin, as the houses of York and Lancaster tear themselves apart….

And Elizabeth Woodville, a young Lancaster an widow, armed only with her beauty and her steely determination, seduces and marries the charismatic warrior king, Edward IV of York.

Crowned Queen of England, surrounded by conflict, betrayal and murder, Elizabeth rises to the demands of her position, fighting tenaciously for her family’s survival. Most of all she must defend her two sons, who become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing Princes in the Tower.

Set amid the tumult and intrigue of the Wars of the Roses, this is the first of a stunning new series, in which internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings the extraordinary drama to vivid life through the women- beginning with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Review: Although this is the first book on the series, I’m reading them in chronological order so in that case it’s the second. 

Elizabeth Woodville, a widow, manages to win the heart of King Edward IV- just as her mother Jacquetta foretold. A secret marriage leads her to become Queen and that’s where the story starts- in my eyes anyway.

This is admit the ongoing ‘War of the Roses’- there is rivalry between brothers, rumours and betrayal. Is it all too much for her to deal with? After all, Elizabeth may have been bought up around royalty but she wasn’t born into it- unlike her husband.

The House of York features a lot more in this book, obviously, but I likes it because I felt that George, Duke of Clarence and Richard, Duke of Gloucester’s (later Richard III) characters were much more padded out.

Even though in Elizabeth’s eyes they are villains after her husband’s crown.

I think the most interesting part of the story was Gregory’s take on the mystery of the Princes in the Tower. Did Richard kill them to get the crown?

What happened to young Prince Edward? In the book, Price Richard is hidden away from his uncle so doesn’t suffer the same fate as his brother.

The only part that was a  bit weird was when Elizabeth’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, wants to marry her uncle- Richard III- because she believes he loves her and she loves him.

Bit odd- pretty sure even that wouldn’t have been allowed at that time!

Still- it was such an interesting story and I really enjoyed it!

4/5 stars

Thanks for reading!

~ Katie 

August Wrap Up/ September TBR

August was a busy month for me, I was working, attending sci-fi conventions (see pictures)

so my reading wasn’t exactly prominent- but I did manage to read and finish four books- three of them were a series! The books are:

That’s all the books I read in the month of August! The last book has dictated the books I want to read in September. I want to read four books in September, and these are:

  • The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
  • The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  • The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory
  • The White Princess by Philippa Gregory.

I have already started reading The White Queen and hopefully I can get to the other three before the end of the month!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:

Review: The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory.

Book Review: The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

Book Review: The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

Read between: 21st-31st August
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 533
Published: March 29th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: When the young and beautiful Jacquetta is married to the older Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta has visions of the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of their royal York rivals. Jacquetta fights for her king and queen, as she sees an extraordinary and unexpected future for her daughter Elizabeth: a change of fortune, the white rose of York, and the throne of England…

Rating: 🌻🌻🌻

Review: This book follows the story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg- the Duchess of Bedford and mother of Elizabeth, Queen of England under Edward IV. That was actually all I really knew about her, and this book, although mostly fiction, opened up her life to me so I could get a better understanding of who she was.

Philippa Gregory always puts a lot of research into her novels and this one was no different!

Jacquetta is a very interesting woman- her first husband marries her to use her gift of sight! There’s a lot of supernatural elements in the novel, most that could be considered witchcraft- fortune telling with tarot cards, psychic abilities, charms and potions- bit this doesn’t distract too much from the history which was good. I would have hated it to have taken a path down the fantasy route.

I also liked the inclusion of Joan of Arc at the beginning as well as Jacquetta’s friendship with Margaret of Anjou- three very important women, all linked- through Joan as a child, and through Margaret as a supporter of the House of Lancaster and King Henry. Jacquetta certainly gets around!

The main thing I love about Gregory’s writing is her focus on the women in history!

There were a couple of times the book got repetitive, for example, every time Jacquetta knew she was with child, she’d put her hand to her belly- she ended up having 14 children with her second husband! That’s why it gets repetitive- once or twice I could deal with but 14!!! However, away from that, the way that the start of the War of the Roses was written kept me reading- I wanted to know if Jacquetta’s family were safe!

It’s a very good story- the only character I couldn’t connect with was Queen Margaret of Anjou, I think mainly because she was very fiery and I’m not so I was a bit put off by her temper in some places. I believe that’s true to her character though so….

I enjoyed this book, and the story, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series with The White Queen!

3/5 stars.
I’d recommend it to people who are interested in the time period or fans of historical fiction 🙂
Thanks for reading!

~Katie

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