Saturday, May 4, 2013
"The Lady of the Rivers", by Philippa Gregory
Set during the House of Lancaster and times of the Wars of the Roses, this third novel if of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, a descended of the river goddess of Melusina and a notoriously beautiful woman who captured the eye of the Duke of Bedford, one of the most powerful men in England and became his bride at the age of 17. He has been one to encourage her occult skills and urge her to reveal his military fate.
The book opens in France in 1430 with Joan of Arc’s capture and her final moments burned at the stake, an event that Jacquetta was forced to witness. Her marriage to the Duke was short lived and when he died two years later Jacquetta could not denied her feelings for Richard Woodville , her later husband’s squire. Both reveal their love and soon marry without the approval of King Henry VI and pay a staggeringly substantial fine for this bold move. Their love resonates through the entire story and their passion and tenderness never erodes, each time Richard returns from a battle there is a new child waiting for him. Soon the drama of the Wars of the Roses with the conflicts between the Yorkists and Lancastrians put them in the middle of a world full of wars and shifting alliances where they need to stay safe and secure.
The novel ends with the Woodville’s beautiful widowed daughter catching the eye of King Edward IV, a vision Jacquetta once had.
Ms. Gregory writes entertaining and easy to read historical fiction, although she admits taking liberties to bring to life the forgotten women in the English history. Jacquetta is a refreshing heroine with her divining sighting and adds originality and mystic air to the story. As in her precious novels, Ms. Gregory portrays spirited women at odds with powerful men, she know how to inject drama with historical events, beautifully adds figures to her invented ones and expertly makes history come alive for our enjoyment.