The Lady of the Riverstells the story of Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg, and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, who 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 household 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 a most haunting heroine.
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.
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Lady of the Rivers
Brought this book to take on holiday, could not put ot down. Links into history are so well written, it is compulsive reading.
I've read all Philippa's books and can't wait for the next. I love the way she brings history to life from a woman's perspective. I feel I know the women after reading her books and am certainly better informed now about the history of our kings and queens than my state school education left me. I do wonder occasionally if religion wouldn't have loomed larger in the lives of these women and we don't hear much of the influence of bishops and cardinals, which must have been huge at that time. But maybe for the women it wasn't so much? In any case, the books feel true to life and I am sure she has characterised the people as well as anyone could, as well as creating credible and gripping storylines around historical fact.
The lady of the rivers
Quality read,absolutely magical, I can't put these books down