The Lady of the Rivers (Cousins' War Series #3)

The Lady of the Rivers (Cousins' War Series #3)

4.2 178
by Philippa Gregory
     
 

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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

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Overview

#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…

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (Oct.)
USA Today
“Gregory returns with another sister act. The result: her best novel in years.”
Historical Novels Review
“Gregory is one of historical fiction’s superstars, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter shows why . . . providing intelligent escape, a trip through time to a dangerous past.”
From the Publisher
“Wielding magic again in her latest War of the Roses novel … Gregory demonstrates the passion and skill that has made her the queen of English historical fiction.…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 … come alive for readers.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The best writers of historical fiction imbue the past with the rich tapestry of life and depth, and Gregory is surely counted among their number. . . .A worthy addition to this fascinating series, once again distinguished by excellent characterization, thorough research, and a deft touch with the written word.” –Library Journal

“The suspenseful pace never flags.” –Kirkus

“The ethereal magic threaded throughout the story. . . .contrasts nicely with the power politics.” –Booklist

“This rip-roarer possesses the same intimate imaginative texture of Gregory’s classic The Other Boleyn Girl. . . . It’s about love, power and human weakness.” —USAToday.com

“The best yet, a lively tale . . . set amid civil wars in England and France.” –Associated Press

Library Journal
The best writers of historical fiction imbue the past with the rich tapestry of life and depth, and Gregory is surely counted among their number. Her third offering in the "Cousins' War" series (after The White Queen and The Red Queen) is the story of Jacquetta, mother of the White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville. Given first to a husband who desires only the magical powers she might possess, Jacquetta marries second for love, much below her station. Still, she manages to keep her family in the good graces of the ineffectual King Henry VI, placing them ultimately on the losing side of the Wars of the Roses. She and her husband hold on, however, finally settling in the country to raise their large brood and await the ascendancy of their daughter Elizabeth, who will bring the family to prominence again. VERDICT A worthy addition to this fascinating series, once again distinguished by excellent characterization, thorough research, and a deft touch with the written word. [With fellow historians David Baldwin and Michael Jones, Gregory is publishing in September a nonfiction account The Women of the Cousins' War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's Mother.—Ed.]—Pam O'Sullivan, SUNY Coll. at Brockport
Kirkus Reviews

A duchess endowed with second sight is caught up in the War of the Roses, in another installment of Gregory'sCousins' Warseries (The Red Queen, 2010).

The story opens as Jacquetta, a young princess of Luxembourg, befriends Joan of Arc. Jacquetta's great aunt, the powerful Demoiselle, takes Joan into her household while the French and English decide the fate of the warrior maid.Near death, the Demoiselle informs Jacquetta that she is a true heiress to the powers conferred on certain women of her family by their ancestor, the water goddess Melusina. Teenage Jacquetta is noticed by the English regent of France, the Duke of Bedford, who demands her hand in marriage.Horrified at first (Bedford engineers the execution of Joan as a witch), Jacquetta soon learns that, rather than consummate their marriage, Bedford wants to employ her occult talents and her virginity in his quest for the Philosopher's Stone.Bedford's squire, Richard Woodville, worships the new Duchess from afar. After Bedford dies, Jacquetta risks her status as Dowager Duchess and heiress to a great fortune to marry Richard, her less-than-blue-blooded true love.The two attempt to retire to an English country house but are soon summoned to attend to Lancastrian King Henry VI and his volatile Queen, Margaret of Anjou.Richard is made a baron and given command of the English garrison at Calais.As two factions of English nobility, the Lancasters and Yorks, vie for control of the unstable realm, hard-won English territories in France are lost, further undermining Henry's sway.Then Henry lapses into a catatonic state, during which Margaret needs Jacquetta's help to keep the Yorks at bay. However, Jacquetta, who despite Richard's frequent absences has birthed at least 11 children (readers will lose count), resists exploiting gifts that some may see as witchcraft.

Although the complexity of the historical and political events threatens to overwhelm Jacquetta's story, the suspenseful pace never flags, although it's clear that Jacquetta has allied herself—at least for now—with the losing side.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781849836524
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Ome
Publication date:
03/28/2012
Series:
Cousins' War Series, #3

Meet the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Her Cousins’ War novels are the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries The White Queen. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds an honorary degree from Teesside University, and is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff. She welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Yorkshire, England
Date of Birth:
January 9, 1954
Place of Birth:
Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa
Education:
B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984
Website:
http://www.PhilippaGregory.com

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