THE LADY OF THE RIVERS by Philippa Gregory was released in April in paperback, and is 435 pages. I was sent a copy for review from Touchstone. As I turned the last page of the book, I was left with the same feeling I always get when I finish one of Gregory’s novels: I wanted more.
THE LADY OF THE RIVERS is the story of Jacquetta, the Duchess of Bedford, who readers first met in Gregory’s novel, THE WHITE QUEEN. Jacquetta is the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, the beautiful widow who captured King Edward IV’s heart, and who was rumored to have descended from the water goddess Melusina.
When THE LADY OF THE RIVERS begins, Jacquetta is a young girl, betrothed to the Duke of Bedford. He marries her for her powers of foresight, and commands that she tell him the future of the land. After a short time, Jacquetta is widowed, and falls in love with the duke’s brave and honorable squire, Richard Woodville. After their marriage they serve King Henry VI and his scheming, ambitious queen, Margaret of Anjou.
Though Jacquetta is blessed with a loving marriage and many children, her life and that of her husband are forever in turmoil as the cousins’ War of the Roses rages on. As the years pass, Jacquetta and Richard are at the center of the terrible battles that plague the country. From trials against accused witches, to illicit affairs, to conflicts that cover the land and water from England to France, THE LADY OF THE RIVERS presents a fascinating look at Medieval history in the years leading up to the Tudor reign.
Philippa Gregory is a true force in historical fiction. Her grasp of period detail and setting are unmatched, and her ability to enliven the forgotten women of history and give them the stage as puppet-masters, villains, victims, and bystanders is extraordinary. After more than fifteen novels on the rich tapestry of Medieval history, each of Gregory’s protagonists is as unique and fully imagined as the one before.
If you are a fan of Gregory’s previous novels, THE LADY OF THE RIVERS will not disappoint. No one does historical love and war like Philippa Gregory.