Thursday 15 September 2011

Review: The Lady of the Rivers - Philippa Gregory

Series: The Cousin's War #3
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 497
Published: September 15, 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Ltd
Source. For review

Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.

My thoughts:
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I heard she was writing it. Jacquetta is an interesting person to say the least. And you can say that when this book end, then book 1 actually begins, The White Queen. Since it is up to that point we hear her story.

Jacquetta married the Duke of Bedford, something that his former brother in law did not like. And they lost the support of Burgundy. In this book Gregory has the duke marrying Jacquetta because of her legacy, she is a descendant of Melusina. While in truth, who knows, he was old., she was young and pretty. That is reason enough. There she also meets Richard Woodville whom she later married without the kings blessing, and they pay for it. But when you are in love you are and I do admire Jacquetta for going against everything and everyone at a time like that.

And the story, yes we get to see England fight for France. Jacquetta get children, a lot, poor woman, she was always pregnant. Well at least they liked each other ;) And of course the fall of the Lancaster King. The king falling into his sleep, Queen Margaret trying to keep the country together and then the start of the war of the roses. I also got thinking and I do like to think that Margaret got her child by a lover. Who can tell. And of course a book like this always has me picking a side. By now I have reached the conclusion that I will always start of as a Lancastrian but when Edward comes along I am Yorkist all the way. I also find it funny that I never like Warwick, no way. I haven't liked him in any book I have read so far about this time.

Some do not like the magic in these books. But I look at it another way. I let Jacquetta think she can see the future, because back then superstition ruled. So if she thinks the saw the future it's because she thought it so. Therefore I do not mind it at all. It does not take anything from the novel. It should also be there since the talk was that she was a witch, just like many other women of power, or who was strange, alone, old, anything really.

What we got in the end is an interesting tale about a woman who risked it all and who lived through dangerous times and got to see her daughter become queen (even if we do not see it here). I am glad Gregory wrote a book about Jacquetta and I am certainly glad to have read it. It was just what I wanted and I will not get tired of The cousin's war.

A great book that I recommend to all fans of historical fiction, and to everyone because you can't go wrong with history. And it may be long, but it is good. She does make history come alive. In the end we have this fascinating tale about a strong woman in a rich setting and it is worth exploring.


Pretty :D


  1. Did you hear she is writing some YA books!

  2. I have only read The Other Boleyn Girl but I absolutely adored that one and need to read more by her!

  3. I have not started this series but I'm sure I will love it.

  4. Oh Phillipa she is the QUEEN of Historical Fiction and if I was EVER going to write, my hero :)

  5. Nice review -- I've heard some folks where cool on this -- they didn't like the characterizations. I find I'm always hit or miss on Gregory's novels but I've been curious about this trilogy so I might have to start it!

  6. I think the magical elements sounds very fitting for the story.

  7. B,

    I've not read anything by this author - historical fiction is not really my thing. LOL

    I am glad you enjoyed it!


  8. I really need to read more by Philippa Gregory I love how they are historical fiction. It's so fun to read about some historical facts with a spin. :-D

  9. I would like to read this one - I haven't heard of Jaquetta! A great review, thank you!

  10. I know i end up reading this when library gets it. Can't resist it!
    I love that someone finally wrote about Jacquetta but I don't like the magic thing.

  11. I still need to read this author! Bad blogger! *sigh* It looks like I need to start picking her books up to read. This is another one I would love to read of hers!

  12. I have this one sitting waiting for me to read. I love Philippa Gregory, hoping I can get to it soon.

  13. Vivienne
    She is?! I did now know that. To the googlemobile! ;)

    Then I am sure you will like this book too

    I truly enjoyed the White Queen so I do recommend this series

    So true, She is the queen :)

    So far it has been hits for me with the 3 I have read. But the second, well I liked it, but Margaret was just such a bitch ;)

    They fit very well, and I enjoyed them.

  14. I tried a couple of hers in the past and wasn't the biggest fan but maybe it's time I try her agian because this sounds awesome!

  15. Michelle
    Perhaps if there were zombies in it? ;)
    Lol, well there are not

    I like that she stays so close to teh truth, but she still manages to put a spin on things. And she makes me believe that who knows, perhaps there was magic back then. A tiny amount

    Neither had I before reading about E Woodwille :)
    Just keep cool then ;) Do not anazlyze

  16. Elysium
    Just think about it like I said. Like she just thought she knew things. The mind is tricky

    Yes, bad blogger! Lol, nah, there are just too many good books out there and not enough time

    MRS Q
    YAY! I hope you will enjoy it too

    Oh, well perhaps these are different. I have actually not read her Tudor books

  17. I just finished The Red Queen and was looking forward to reading Lady of Rivers...and I like some magic in my books! :)

    Have to agree, the cover is pretty!

  18. I'm thinking about getting all three books next year ( I just don't have the time this year. lol) and read all of them in one month. Yes I can do that. ;) I adore the cover.

  19. I haven't read a book yet by this author!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Egads!!

  20. I like your perspective on the magic in these. :)

  21. You have been enjoying these historical fiction reads lately. :) Thanks for the great review.

  22. Since I first heard her name I was interested, because at the time I thought she was just a fictional character...but then I found out shes real! I want to read this book in the near future. Great review

  23. I love the Melusine aspect of this - a whisper of magic in my historical novels.

  24. I really want to read more historicals. I've heard alot of good things about Gregory's books.

  25. I haven't tried Gregory's work yet, but she's a favorite of most of my book club, so I really need to. I'll have to tell them about this book.

  26. I liked The Red Queen more so than The White Queen so I'm really looking forward to this one. Like you I quite like the superstition and magic element :)

  27. Hmm...keeping cool is not something I am proficient in...overanalyzing is quite another story ;p

  28. Great review Blodeuedd, nice to read about a forgotten but important member of the courts.

  29. Hmmm have some of her books on my shelf and really need to start reading them when I read your review, it sounds so right up my alley and I so love history!

  30. I do not have any issues with magic :) Like you point out it can just add to the book if seen from your perspective.

  31. Haha! It is unfortunate that she was pregnant a lot. Well maybe. I guess it just depends. Fab review as always. I also think the cover is pretty but there is too much font madness. It takes over.

  32. You know, Philippa Gregory is one of those authors I think I should, but I might as well just admit that I'm never going to.

  33. I love that cover! Def. pulls you in and sounds like an interesting story as well.

  34. I'm a big fan of this author. Her Tudor novels are among my favorites. This one sounds fantastic. I think Gregory is among the Queens of historical fiction.

  35. Mel
    I hope you like this one then :D It was better then the Red Queen, ok not better, Margaret was just such a bitch ;)
    Sooooo pretty, I love it

    I think that sounds like the perfect plan :D Yes yes do it!

    I am speechless

    I just tried to think around it, even if in the end I liked it since I am all for maagic

    I know. I just love historical fiction :D You really should try some

    Oh yes, all real, a babymachine (15 or something), mother to a queen, and quite a woman

  36. Steph
    Some like it, some don't, and I do not mind. Since, well I would love to think magic was around back then and other beings.

    You really should try them, and totally start with this series

    A friend of mine kept bugging me to read her and I am glad I finally did last year

    More so, well it was good, I just did not like the main character. But she does write to well

    You are one scary woman ;) But then no one is so good at anazlying as you are

    She was right there, and the mother of a queen, still so forgotten

  37. Marissa
    If you alreay got so0me then yes go ahead :D Is it the Tudor ones? I have not read those

    Then I am sure you would enjoy this book.

    At least they liked each other enough hihi. And pregnancy at that time was a killer so I am glad she made it. I love the font

    Lol, at least you admit it that you will never find the time

    So pretty, It is one of the best ones this year.

    She sure is there at the top and I hope she writes many more good ones

  38. this sounds so awesome!! did you like it more than the red queen?

  39. Seeing that this is book 3 in a series, can this book be read on its own?

  40. Cherry
    Yes of course, book 1 was about Elizabeth Woodville and book 3 is about her mother when she was young. Book 2 was about M Beaufort. So all different women, in different times, but over crossing since it all has to do with the war. You can read them in any order you want really.

    Yes I did :D Mostly cos Margaret was such a bitch ;)

  41. I looking forward to reading this!! I'm on the book tour for November.

  42. Diana
    enjoy :D I am sure you are gonna like it

  43. I've got this one in the stacks. I'm glad to hear you liked it!

  44. Darlene
    I hope you will enjoy it too :D

  45. I can't wait to rip into this one! I just finished the Women of the Cousins' War - and this one will be a good hearty read for OCT :)

    Loved the review!

  46. I haven't read a Gregory book in so long...I should start back up with this one. Love the cover too. Thanks B!

  47. Aisle
    I have that book coming up this weekend :)

    Such a pretty cover!
    Do read it, I am sure you would enjoy it



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