Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Lady of the Rivers

Lady of the Rivers is the third published book of the Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory, but chronologically happens before The White Queen and The Red Queen

Jacquetta of Luxembourg grew up knowing the women in her family were different, because they are descended from Melusina, and she was no exception. Jacquetta has the sight. Because of this sight, Jacquetta is quickly married to the Duke of Bedford and taken from her home so that he may use her sight to his advantage, until his death leaves her a young widow with only one friend: the Duke's squire, Richard Woodville. Woodville and Jacquetta marry in secret and return to the English court of Henry VI, where Jacquetta serves the Queen, Margaret of Anjou.   But as the king falls into a deep sleep and cannot be awakened, the Lancasters begin to fall out of favor for a king who can actually rule.

Jacquetta is a real, but little known (until now, thanks to Philippa!), historical character born in the early 1400s. Because she is so unknown, other than that she is the mother of Elizabeth Woodville (of The White Queen), there is little published about her. Philippa, who is a historian unto herself, did a lot of research, and produced files and files of notes. In addition to the novel, she wrote an essay for readers to study, too. So much of Jacquetta's story is, of course, based on the truth of Philippa's research with Philippa filling in the gaps. Having previously read the other two, it was interesting to read the different perspective of the Cousins' War and I really enjoyed it. 

There were a few little problems, though. Jacquetta says "hi" -- a lot! And I'm pretty sure they didn't say "hi" in the 1400s, or, at least, none of the other historical novels I've read have lead me to believe such. Also, a lot of the ceremony, churching, and seclusion of childbirth Jacquetta participates in, shouldn't be happening yet. Margaret Beaufort (of The Red Queen)  introduced all of those. Which I learned from Philippa, so I'm not sure where the slip happened.  

Other than those errors, I thought the book was perfect. The Lady of the Rivers is now one of my favorites of Philippa's work. I loved getting to know Jacquetta and hear her story. I highly recommend and encourage you to read it! 
Read on! 

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