4 May 2012



Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta has always had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she meets his prisoner, Joan Of Arc, and sees her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft.

Married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, Jacquetta is introduced by him 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 Henry V1, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lanchester court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. The king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret, his queen, turns to untrustworthy favourites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty of the House of York.

Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth Woodville, a young woman for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.
....... Inner front cover.

First Sentence (Chapter 1): She sits, this odd trophy of war, as neat as an obedient child, on a small stool in the corner of her cell.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 117): The sempstress and the tailors will come at once to measure us up for our mourning clothes, the shoemaker will come to make black slippers for me. The glovemaker will produce dozens of pairs of black gloves for me to distribute to my household. They will order black cloth to swathe the way to the cathedral, and black capes for one hundred poor men who will be hired to follow the coffin.

MY THOUGHTS: The third book in the Cousin's War trilogy, the previous two being THE WHITE QUEEN and THE RED QUEEN (click on book title to see my reviews) I think this was actually my favourite. 

Telling the story of Jacquetta, mother to Elizabeth, The White Queen, it does feel a bit strange going back to the story pre-Elizabeth (I don't think its too much of a spoiler to say this ends where The White Queen begins) and it could be argued that perhaps this should have been the first book in the series but this did not in any way mar my enjoyment of the book nor its readability.

The story of a much less well known historical figure, The Lady Of The Rivers mixes romance, politics, danger and, to a lesser degree, witchcraft into a wonderfully well written novel that was obviously thoroughly researched but then I expect nothing less of Philippa Gregory.

Starting in France in the year 1430 the story begins with the imprisonment and subsequent execution of Joan of Arc as witnessed by Jacquetta, a strong woman though, as was customary of the times, one very much dominated by men, politics, and religious beliefs.

Widowed at the tender age of 19, Jacquetta we learn then went on to marry a man 'for love' causing quite a scandal. A 'daughter' of Melusina and believed to have certain powers that are considered nothing short of witchcraft, she is the close friend and confident of Queen Margaret who between the two of them prove a powerful combination.

An enthralling journey well travelled by the reader, I'm sure all fans of historical fiction that is based on actual people and events will love this book.

IF PURCHASED, WHERE?: Purchased with a book voucher given as a birthday present

KEEP IT OR NOT?: What a silly question, of course I'll be keeping this.


Kelly said...

This one does sound good. It's been far too long since I've read a Phillipa Gregory novel.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I love it when the third book in a series is liked even more than the previous two. I still haven't read this author but my daughter has and is a big fan. Thanks for adding your endorsement!

joan said...

hi another great review and one to add to my (kindle ) list also loved your last review on the ghost story, btw just noticed your roll along hedgehog on top of your blog , i love him

Suko said...

Petty, this sounds spectacular! If you can believe it, I still haven't read anything by this author--that's going to change soon. :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

You know I've been wanting to read these books. I have had them on my wishlist for a while now. I've been looking at more historical fiction. Yep, I'll be getting these. Glad to know this one was the best of the bunch.

Fairday Morrow said...

I have read a lot by this author- but I haven't read this one. I have Wideacre by her to read next. I don't know much about it- but I picked it up for $1 at a local library sale. I enjoyed this review and will keep my eye out for this one. :)

Nezzy said...

You find the best soundin' books sweetie...great review once again Miss Tracy!

God bless and have a fantastic weekend sweetie!!! :O)

Betty Manousos said...

yet another brilliant review!

i definitely shall read this one.
great book cover, too.

hope your weekend is going well!


plus:i also loved your review on the ghost story.

ashok said...

sounds good

Kalyan said...

Nice reading the review...looks a lovely book to read.

naida said...

Glad you enjoyed it, I love this author.

Deepali said...

I've had another avid reader recommend this author to me :D Really should get on it...