This installment in The Cousins' War series chronicles much of the reign of Henry VII, as seen through his wife's eyes (Elizabeth of York, daughter ofThis installment in The Cousins' War series chronicles much of the reign of Henry VII, as seen through his wife's eyes (Elizabeth of York, daughter of the deceased King Edward IV and niece to Richard III, whom Henry defeated on the battlefield to win the throne). This novel is most interesting because even though Elizabeth of York is married to Henry shortly after he takes the throne, the remainder of her family continues to rebel against and attempt to usurp the king for many years afterward, leaving Elizabeth torn between her family and her husband and children.
This is my favorite book in The Cousins' War series, so far. I felt like this novel had the strongest viewpoint character (clear, internal conflict, hurrah!), and there were very few actual battle scenes and war-making, which are the parts that I have found drag most in the other books. But my liking of this one in particular may also have to do with the fact that I was so very curious about Henry VII and what happened after he took the throne.
Gregory's writing isn't mind-blowing, but it suffices. As always, I wished she would dig a little deeper into her viewpoint character's head. I did find myself getting annoyed with the character traits she did choose for Elizabeth, who was constantly saying, "I don't know," to just about anything anyone ever asked her. This would have come across better if we could have seen the internal conflict clearer. But Gregory seems to be a strong component of show, and internal thought doesn't appear to fall into that category, for her. Ah well.
I do love learning about the history of these times and find myself oddly glad to know that I can probably hold a rather expansive conversation about the War of the Roses, now....more
This book was long but good. The Kingmaker's Daughter, the fourth book in the Cousin's War series, follows the life of Anne Neville, the younger daughThis book was long but good. The Kingmaker's Daughter, the fourth book in the Cousin's War series, follows the life of Anne Neville, the younger daughter of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick--who helped the house of York overthrow King Henry VI (of Lancaster) and put Edward IV on the throne. Hence Richard Neville's nickname as "The Kingmaker." Unfortunately, King Edward's choice of wife leaves Warwick dissatisfied with his limited power, so he begins kingmaking again, using his two daughters as pawns in his attempts to put someone new on the throne who could be more easily influenced and controlled.
As a woman in 15th Century England, Anne had very little control over her own life, except in the way she chose to view the cards dealt to her. She and her sister Isabel rode the tides of fate sometimes as friends and sometimes as enemies, as the wheel of fortune--and their father's ambition--pulls them low and raises them high at different points throughout their lives.
I felt like Anne had a strong viewpoint in this installment of the series (one element that was sometimes lacking in some of the other books). At this point, we've seen the same events now from the perspective of three different women, and those past books help to deepen the insights here. The perspective Anne chooses to view events through is what really influences her reactions and what happens next, as opposed to the events themselves. The mistrust and enmity between the houses of Warwick and York, at some points, is quite palpable. And yet drives one crazy. Can't we all just get along? Why is everyone so obsessed with being king or queen of England?!
I've rated the book (perhaps a bit generously) as 4-star, even though there was really nothing that blew me away. Just good, detailed, well-written historical fiction....more
I really enjoyed (some parts of) the TV mini-series based mainly off of this book but also pulling from some of the other books in the series. HoweverI really enjoyed (some parts of) the TV mini-series based mainly off of this book but also pulling from some of the other books in the series. However, I had read one other Gregory book before, The Other Boleyn Girl, and wasn't super thrilled by it, so I wasn't in a hurry to dive into this other Gregory series. But a few months after finishing the mini-series, I happened to read The Daughter of Time, which I had no idea was about the exact same time period and characters until the historical mystery of the story began to reveal itself. That book reinvigorated my interest in the history and so I set out to read Gregory's The Cousins War series.
I enjoyed this first installment in the series, which gives account of Elizabeth Woodville's climb from landless post-war widow to queen and wife to Edward IV. However, I felt like Elizabeth, as the point-of-view character, acted more like a cardboard cut-out or fly on the wall than an actual character with feelings and opinions. There wasn't enough her in her point of view. She told us what she did and what others around her did, but what did she think of it all? That absence of character depth left the story feeling a little vanilla....more
This book, the third in the Cousins' War series, follows Jacquetta's story--mother to Elizabeth Woodville, eventual wife and queen to Edward IV, whoseThis book, the third in the Cousins' War series, follows Jacquetta's story--mother to Elizabeth Woodville, eventual wife and queen to Edward IV, whose story was told in book one of the series (The White Queen). Beginning when Jacquetta is a young girl whose family briefly takes in Joan of Arc before she is turned over to the English for execution, the story follows her travails through her first brief marriage to John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI, her choice then to marry a gentleman of her household for love rather than let the court determine her future for her, and her and her husband's time serving Henry VI and his fiery queen Margaret of Anjou.
Oh man, this book is long. But enjoyable. I definitely felt like Jacquetta had a clear point of view. And certainly most everything that happened in her life was interesting. Though it does seem challenging to keep a reader's attention when things digress to war and frequent battles and skirmishes -- when the viewpoint is a woman who is rarely directly involved in these events. All in all, though, I found this third book interesting and easy to get through....more
This second book in Gregory's The Cousins' War series follows Margaret Beaufort's life as a young, unusually religious girl all the way to her long-awThis second book in Gregory's The Cousins' War series follows Margaret Beaufort's life as a young, unusually religious girl all the way to her long-awaited ascendance to Queen Mother when her son Henry (VII) Tudor finally takes the throne.
I enjoyed this installment more than the first, as I really think Gregory did a good job of capturing Margaret's personality and unique viewpoint. However, I was very disappointed to realize (only at the very end of the book) that I had accidentally checked out the abridged version of the audiobook. Grr! So I can only assume I would have enjoyed it even more if I had listened to the unabridged version. I also wished that the story had gone on into Henry VII's reign. So much build-up to Margaret finally reaching the throne and then the story is just over....more
This young adult novel takes place in Western Europe, on the cusp of World War I. The story follows the escape of fictional sixteen-year-old AleksandaThis young adult novel takes place in Western Europe, on the cusp of World War I. The story follows the escape of fictional sixteen-year-old Aleksandar Ferdinand, piloting a large walker (a mech) through the countryside toward Switzerland, from his home country of Austria after his parents are assassinated in Russia (the instigating act that led to WWI), making him a fugitive from those who don't want to see him made the heir of the Austrian throne. Meanwhile, fifteen-year-old Deryn Sharp has disguised herself as a boy in order to join the British Air Service and serve on one of the massive, bio-engineered, living airships that make up the British Fleet.
Westerfeld has set up his alternate history as a clash between two scientific paradigms. The Germans and Austrians are "klankers", using their mechanical engineering skills to build massive walking mechs and mechanical airplanes. The British and Russians are "Darwinists", bioengineering creatures to serve every imagined need, from message lizards to flechette bats and flying hydrogen "whales" that serve as airships.
This was a great story and really really got good once the paths of our two protagonists finally met. My only disappointment was how soon it all ended. Felt like half or even a quarter of a book. But I know that's the nature of these shorter YA novels. Ah well. On to the next one!...more