Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: The Lady of the Rivers by Philipa Gregory

Title: The Lady of the Rivers
Author: Philippa Gregory
The Cousins' War #3
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: October 18th 2011
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

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.

I'm a huge fan of Philipa Gregory's books, so when I got this novel I was super excited to read it, and I'm sure all her fans will feel in the same way when they lay hands on this book.  

This novel tells us the story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, daughter of Peter I and Margaret de Baux, and mother of Elizabeth Woodville (Queen consort of King Edward IV of England, and main character of the novel; The White Queen, the second book in The Cousins' War series). 

Even thought I haven't read the first two books in the series, it was super easy to read this one and and the story caught my attention immediately. From the very first moment we have the opportunity to read a story full of historical details that make the readers go back hundreds and hundreds of years ago, to medieval times. We will read about famous characters such as Joan of Arc who Jacquetta had the opportunity to meet when she was young, or her oldest daughter and her husband (King Edward IV of England) But also, we will find a lot of fiction, including some myths, like the Melusina's, that is a feminine spirit of fresh waters, and that Jacquetta was considered her descendant. 

For those who are fanatics of realistic books, maybe this one is not exactly what they are looking for. There are a lot of fictional details that the author took the liberty of adding and changing, so you're not going to find a book that is one hundred percent accurate. Maybe you're thinking; "This is a historical fiction book, of course there are a lot of scenes and situations that are not real…",  but what I really want to say is that they are kind of fantastic (Melusina), voices… etc, etc.

So, what can I say? This is a really nice book, with lovely characters, I really liked Jacquectta, and the way the author described her made me think that maybe she was a really sweet woman who had the opportunity to marry for love, something that maybe a lot of women of her time couldn't do it. 

This book is not The Other Boleyn Girl, so we are not going to find too many famous characters such as Henry VIII of England. We are going to read about  a woman that was forgotten by history, and her story is kind of vague, that is the main reason why I think the author used so much fiction in this book.

 I really enjoyed it, and I recommend it to all those readers who love this kind of stories, and of course, to all the fans of this wonderful author. But if you prefer a more realistic story, without myths and that kind of thing, or if you want to read about the real life of those wonderful women, maybe you should try reading The Women of the Cousin's Wars, a non-fiction book written by Gregory and her fellow historians David Baldwin and Michael Jones. 

Happy Reading!

 Philippa Gregory: Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC radio.
Philippa obtained a BA degree in history at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant world wide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer, and now lives with her family on a small farm in the North of England.

1 comment:

  1. Philippa does it again, a powerful, little known historical figure, A woman of power and a powerful personality, founder of maybe the most famous royal line in history. All Phillippa's heroines are strong women, far advanced in thought for their times. You'll love her too


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