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#1 New York Times bestselling author and “queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory brings to life the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman of passion and of legend who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the War of the Roses to bring her family unimaginable power.
When the young and beautiful Jacquetta is married to the older 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 has visions of the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of their royal York rivals. Jacquetta fights for her king and queen, as she sees an extraordinary and unexpected future for her daughter Elizabeth: a change of fortune, the white rose of York, and the throne of England…
Wielding magic again in her latest War of the Roses novel (after The Red Queen), Gregory demonstrates the passion and skill that has made her the queen of English historical fiction. Her heroine-narrator, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who possesses second sight, is but 14 when she witnesses the execution of Joan of Arc. Joan's persecutor, the duke of Bedford, marries Jacquetta the next year in a vain attempt to access her powers, but then leaves her a wealthy widow. Defying convention, Jacquetta chooses a new husband herself: the duke's handsome young squire, Richard Woodville, with whom she has a dozen children, including Elizabeth, the future queen. Richard serves at King Henry VI's court, and Jacquetta befriends his new queen. When the king's widowed mother weds Owen Tudor, tolerance spreads for women who defy convention. As in previous works, Gregory portrays spirited women at odds with powerful men, endowing distant historical events with drama, and figures long dead or invented with real-life flaws and grand emotions. She makes history (mostly accurate) come alive for readers (mostly women) by giving credence to persistent rumors that academic historians (mostly men) have brushed aside.