Anne Neville (1456-1485) is not well-known as a personality in her own right. She is most famous for being the wronged wife of Richard III (1452-1485). At the time of her death, many whispered that she’d been poisoned by her husband to make way for his marriage to his niece Elizabeth of York (1466-1503). That marriage never happened, because Richard was obliged to deny before parliament that he’d had a relationship with Elizabeth. Shortly thereafter, on August 22, Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
Anne is also known as the daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1429-1471), aka “Warwick the Kingmaker” for his making and unmaking of England’s kings during the Wars of the Roses. And lastly, she is known for being the wife of Edward, Prince of Wales (1453-1471), the son and heir of Henry VI and Marguerite d’Anjou. They married in 1470, when Anne was only 14. Edward was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, leaving Anne a widow at the age of 15.
So it was a pleasure to read Philippa Gregory’s account of her in THE KINGMAKER’S DAUGHTER, in which Anne is the protagonist. In Ms. Gregory’s account, Anne emerges as an endearing and intelligent heroine, caught up in the snares of her father’s politics during as he swings from one side to another. Originally promised to Richard of Gloucester, a younger brother of the Yorkist King Edward IV, Anne is married off to Edward, Prince of Wales of the House of Lancaster. When Edward regains his throne and the House of Lancaster is crushed, Anne (according to Ms. Gregory) chooses to marry Richard of Gloucester as her second husband. Thus her marriage to the man who later becomes King Richard III, starts out as a love match.
Ms. Gregory keeps very close to her characters in her stories, and I think this is what makes them so popular. In this novel, you feel as if you are actually with Anne as the events of her life unfold. The author has also done a superlative job with Anne’s voice. Anne is not a charismatic person like Elizabeth Woodville or Jacquetta de St. Pol. Her voice does not have the bite of a Margaret Beaufort. Nevertheless, her quiet determination shines in this novel. Five stars.