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The Lady of the Rivers - a Review
The Lady of the Rivers, written by Philippa Gregory, is a riveting historical fiction novel that begins right before Joan of Arc is burned to her death. The story opens in 1430, during the time of the War of Roses, with Jacquetta visiting her uncle, Lord John of Luxembourg. Joan of Arc is his prisoner.
Jacquetta is supposedly a descendant of Melusina, the river goddess, and has been blessed (or cursed) with the gift of second sight. She becomes friends with Joan of Arc and first experiences her 'gift' with Joan. She witnesses this brave young lady's fiery end at the stake and learns that if a woman wants to survive, she must keep her gifts hidden in this world ruled by men where any kind of seemingly-magical act is outlawed.
Soon after she witnesses Joan's death at the stake, Jacquetta is given in marriage to the Duke of Bedford, who doesn't exactly marry her for love. He marries her because she has the gift of second sight, the use of which is against the law. He wants her to use this gift to help him win the war. The marriage is never consummated; he wants to keep her a pure virgin. She never feels warmth or affection from her husband and is left wanting so much more. She unintentionally falls in love with another man, Richard Woodville.
Once her husband dies, she sneaks off with Richard and returns to court married to him. She and Richard have risked facing the young king's wrath for the sake of true love. They are fined heavily for what they have done and are sent away from the court. But right before the young king marries Margaret of Anjou, Jacquetta is summoned back to court to serve the new queen.
Jacquette and her husband find that working for King Henry VI and his spoiled wife does not equal having a tranquil life. Richard is away from home often, actually, he is gone most of the time. Still, they manage to have 12 children, possibly more. I just know there were so many that I lost count! Jacquetta herself isn't even home with her children that often. Most of the time, she is at court in service to the spoiled queen.
She stands by the queen's side during her marriage to King Henry VI, especially when she realizes that the queen's marriage is just as cold as her first marriage to the Duke of Bedford. She defends the queen and helps to keep secret that the child the queen births does not actually belong to the king. Even when she knows the queen is wrong, she stands beside her and helps her out. When the king 'falls asleep' for 18 long months, she is there for her. And she is the one who tells the queen when her lover and father of her child has been killed in battle.
The story of Jacquetta and Richard's love is like a fairy tale. Their love sees them through so much, and they remain faithful to each other. He always promises to come back to her when he leaves to go to war, and he always does. One of their daughters, Elizabeth Woodville, eventually becomes the wife of Edward IV.
If you are a fan of historical fiction that is full of action, if you like stories about strong women, if you like romance stories, then this book is for you.
This book was sent to me free of charge by NetGalley. If you would like your own copy of this book to read, I have provided links to purchase it from Amazon below. If you buy this book through my links, it will not add to your cost at all, but will add just a little to my income.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
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