The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I LOVE Philippa Greggory’s books.  After I had read The Other Boleyn Girl, I have religiously read all the other books.  This book though seemed to …. drag just a tad in the middle.  There were a lot of details, was wordy, and didn’t have the typical romance the Ms Gregory usually writes about.  So what I’m trying to say is I have totally mixed feelings here.

Title: The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins’ War #3)

Author: Philippa Gregory

Summary (by Goodreads):

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 take:

Like I mentioned above, it seemed to lag a little in the middle and didn’t quite have the spark of romance that is normally woven through Philippa Gregory’s other books.  There was SO much written in this book and so many details that I felt like I was going crazy sometimes trying to remember who people were and where people were supposed to be from time to time.  Don’t get me wrong…it was a good book!  It was just a bit much to handle after reading fluffy YA fiction books!

Jacquetta is a woman that is said to be from the line of Melusina (a mermaid who made herself human, fell in love, married a man, but still turned into a mermaid once a month).  In a time when there were witch hunts and women were accused of seducing kings, Jacquetta’s “visions” and “card reading” abilities are a blessing and a curse.

Philippa Gregory mentions at the end of the book that there’s not a lot historically written about Jacquetta, but throughout her studies, Jacquetta’s name kept popping up here and there.  Much of this book is fiction, written by stringing the story together from points and events where Philippa sees Jacquetta’s name turn up.  It makes for an interesting read after you know that little tid bit of knowledge!  So….you’re welcome!

Jacquetta is first married to an elderly duke who soon thereafter dies and she then marries her second husband for love.  She is penalized for marrying below what she once was and ends up paying a hefty fine to the court in the process.  She ends up having 11 children by her second husband! I kinda lost count…I think it’s 11.  She befriends the new queen and it becomes and up and down roller coaster ride.  This woman did a lot in her lifetime!!

Although this book is 3rd in the series, I don’t feel like you would absolutely have to read the other two before-hand.  Jacquetta’s daughter is the woman in the first book The White Queen and a woman woven throughout this 3rd book is the main player for the second book The Red Queen.  Did you catch all that??? 

Overall it was good…not a 5 or 4 star…more like a 3.5 star maybe?  She has another 2 or 3 slotted for the series to come out over the next few years.  I will read every one of them!




2 responses to “The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

  1. I was actually surprised that she went backwards to write Jacquetta’s story after doing the White Queen and the Red Queen. I thought for sure her readers would feel the kind of confusion you express in the second to last paragraph of your review. I’ve been a student of this period of history since I was a teenager, so I’m very familiar with the complicated relationships (and everybody having the same handful of names!) I find that Ms. Gregory’s books can be brilliant (her Boleyn books) or uneven (some of her books in Queen Elizabeth’s court). Still, I look forward to reading this one, and like you, I plan on reading all of the books in this series. Thanks for your review!

    • I was surprised she went back too! If I would have known she was going backwards, I might’ve read this one first and then read the others. Everyone having the same name throws me for a loop and then titles get handed around from person to person depending who’s on the throne and in good graces at the time. Ms Gregory usually only puts relevant people in her books so we’re not TOO consumed with the feeling of “who’s who again?”.
      Thank you for your comment! I love looking at my dashboard and seeing a “real” comment and not spam! So thanks for making my day!

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