When I received this Advance Review Copy from the Publisher, I had only read one other book by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl. While Gregory is clearly a gifted writer, I tend to be a bit of a purist when it comes to historical fiction, and the license the author took with the story of Mary and Anne Boleyn, not to mention the trashy-style relationships portrayed in the book, left me thinking that Gregory’s books were not my cup of tea.
After reading The Lady of the Rivers, however, I stand corrected. I loved this book. I mean, I really really loved this book. The character of Jacquetta Woodville is fascinating, and it gave readers a look at the War of the Roses from the perspective of a family who was loyal to the crown and slowly became disillusioned with the royal rulers. The heroine, Jacquetta Woodville, becomes the sister-in-law to King Henry VI of England, when she marries John, the Duke of Bedford. When her husband dies, Duchess Jacquetta decides to take matters into her own hands and marries for love, beneath her status, and without permission from the crown. Eventually, she and her husband, Richard Woodville, are forgiven, raise a large family, and become favorites at Court. The Lady of the Rivers is a marvelous telling of Jacquetta’s story, complete with treachery and even witchcraft. It is also part of a series of historical novels featuring the prominent women during the War of the Roses (also called The Cousins’ War). It is so good, I’m definitely going to be reading the rest of Philippa Gregory’s books.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2011