June 27, 2013

BOOK REVIEW | The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory



Basic information
Series: The Cousins’ War #3
Genre: historical fiction, adult
Published by: Simon & Schuster in April 2012


A story rich in passion and legend, The Lady of the Rivers is the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the Wars of the Roses. When Jacquetta is married to the 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 can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of their royal York rivals. As Jacquetta fights for her king and her queen, she can see an extraordinary and unexpected future for her daughter Elizabeth: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York…



I like Philippa Gregory’s style of writing. I’m always a bit reluctant to start a historical novel because I’m afraid I’ll be bored out of my mind but she makes it all sound interesting. She makes it all thrilling to read, even suspenseful at times. I think I made the right choice to start getting into historical fiction with Gregory because she has made me love it.
The way we learn about the protagonist and everything she goes through, the way we follow her for the most part of her life is both fun and fascinating but also confusing at the same time. I never knew how I should picture her in my mind. I was constantly thinking ‘How old is she again’ to adapt my vision I had of her. I also had this with the other characters we follow from early on in the book.
Although the book might drag for some of you, I didn’t have the feeling that the story wasn’t moving forward, so to say. I didn’t get bored once, never put it aside because I wasn’t feeling it.
The white magic aspect that is a ‘big’ part in ‘The White Queen’ (which I read last year) gets mentioned a few times in this book though there Gregory didn’t really go in detail too much.

The protagonist is Jacquetta of Luxembourg. When we first meet her she is about fourteen years old and soon to be married to the Duke of Bedford. We follow her story from then on until she is in her late 40s. Jacquetta is a very strong, independent and clever character. I don’t know how she kept her faith in her king and queen for so long when they had lost so many battles and men and went through so many terrifying stages in their lives. She tells us that women don’t have a say in anything in these times but I strongly disagree, at least in her case, as she advises the king and queen and has the trust of the people. She really does have a say and it is partly because of her (and her husband) that Henry VI and Margaret have reigned for so long if you ask me. The Woodvilles were my favorites throughout this whole book.

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