07 October 2014

Review: The Lady of the Rivers | Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers is the third in The Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory, following on from The White Queen and The Red Queen; although chronologically it can be read first. 

The Lady of the Rivers begins in France in 1430 and is about the life of Jacquetta of Luxembourg. The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, (who meets and marries King Edward IV) while in The Lady of the Rivers we learn all about Elizabeth's mother, Jacquetta.

After being widowed by the Duke of Bedford, Jacquetta becomes a very close friend of Margaret of Anjou, King Henry VI's Queen.

The novel contains all of the intrigue, danger, alliances, betrayals, sieges and power for the throne that thrilled readers (and myself) in The White Queen, at the same time chronicling the life of a fascinating woman in history. During her lifetime, Jacquetta gave birth to 14 children (amazing that she survived), outranked every other lady at court (apart from her friend the Queen) changed allegiances from the House of Lancaster to the House of York, was trialled for witchcraft and later saw her daughter become Queen. In the novel she is portrayed as being loyal to Margaret of Anjou and a devoted and loving wife to her second husband, Richard.

The magic and gift of foresight learned and inherited from Jacquetta's Great Aunt play a small role in the novel yet provide a wonderful backstory to the magic in The White Queen. (It was one of my favourite aspects of the novel, and really sets it apart from any other historical novel covering the War of the Roses).

My only wish when reading any novel by Philippa Gregory is that I could retain (and later recall) 100% of the historical information imparted along the way. The White Queen was made into a successful and TV series, and I also hope her other novels in the Cousins' War make their way onto the big screen as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and engaging novel and was instantly caught up in this most fascinating period in our history all over again. The next in the series is The Kingmaker's Daughter and I can't wait to read it.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

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