Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War #3), by Philippa Gregory

Title: The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War #3)
Author: Philippa Gregory
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory weaves witchcraft, passion, and adventure into the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the War of the Roses.
Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta has always had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she meets his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and recognizes her own power in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the “wheel of fortune” before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.
Married to the Duke of Bedford, English Regent of France, Jacquetta is introduced by him 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.
Drawing on years of research, Philippa Gregory tells the story of the Woodvilles who achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty of the House of York.
Jacquetta fights for her King, her Queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth Woodville, a young woman married to a neighbor for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.
A sweeping, powerful story based on history and rich in passion and legend, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother to the White Queen. Philippa Gregory is writing at the height of her talent."
My Opinion: When I requested this book from NetGalley I wasn't aware that it was the third in a series, but I was happy to find out that each book tells about a different woman from the time of the War of the Roses. Therefore, this installment was able to stand on its own very well. 
The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of Jacquetta, who as a child meets Joan of Arc and who as a young woman and adult becomes a friend and confidante to young Margaret, the queen of England. She is married to an older Englishman,  John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI, when she is still very young, and is widowed when she is not much older. She defies the rules of the time and  becomes the lover, and later wife of the Duke's squire, Richard Woodville. While that could have been the end of her life at court, she is not allowed to leave for long because the queen, Margaret, insists she needs her close. She spends her life trying not to get caught between all of the rivalries at court, and the constantly changing social strata of the many players. 
Philippa Gregory is a masterful storyteller and I enjoyed this book very, very much. Saying that it is a sweeping, powerful story is an understatement! Now, I have to go back and read the first two books in this amazing series, The Red Queen and The White Queen :D

1 comment:

  1. I am interested to see what she has to say about this book (and her recent series in general) when I go to her event on Oct 29th. I too loved her earlier works but haven't yet had the chance to try out the Cousin's War series. Thanks for the review.

    Marlene Detierro (Renton's River Adventures, Inc.)