The Kingmaker's Daughter, the fourth novel in Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series (which began in 2009 with The White Queen), delves deep into the life of Anne Neville, 16th Countess of Warwick, and Queen of England from 1483 to 1485. Gregory's detailed account of England during the Wars of the Roses, and the psychology and culture of 15th-century English courts, will prove a delight to her fans or to anyone enamored of English history. As with her previous novels, The Kingmaker's Daughter draws on a real figure of history, developing the emotional fabric of one woman's life to reveal in detail the world in which she lived. In the case of Anne Neville, it's a life lived as a pawn in the political plots of powerful men.
Daughter of the Earl of Warwick, known at the time as "The Kingmaker" for his ability to seat--and unseat--kings on the throne of England, Anne was always destined for a political marriage. But when her first husband dies in battle, she finds herself a teenaged widow, with her father killed, her mother claiming sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Anne is rescued by Richard, the younger son of the king of England, in a sweeping gesture of romance and passion, but soon realizes that she remains a pawn--albeit a loved and cherished one--in Richard's own political maneuverings. (History buffs are already nodding eagerly. For the uninitiated, here's a hint: Richard's schemes are a drama of Shakespearean proportions.) --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm