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Blog Tour Review and Sweeps: The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

>>Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Title: The Lady of the Rivers
Author: Philippa Gregory
Series: The Cousin's War #3
Format: ARC
Pages: 497
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: B-

From Goodreads: 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.

Why did I read this book? Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and it had been a while since I read anything by Gregory. When I had the chance to read one of her books in the Cousin's War series, I jumped at the chance!

Source: ARC provided by Simon & Schuster Canada

My Review
At first, I wasn't really sure about reading this book because it is the third in the series and I hadn't read the first two (though, not for lack of wanting). It worked out since this novel follows Jacquetta, mother of Elizabeth Woodville and so takes place before the other two books (The White Queen and The Red Queen). I had read Gregory many times before, including all her Tudor books and so I was anxious to see what she'd done with the War of the Roses era.

I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I felt this novel had a different feel from her previous books. I thought there was a lot of focus on telling the story of what happened politically during that time, rather than focusing too much on romance or drama between characters. The characters are brought to life and I felt connected to Jacquetta, a strong woman and mother, and her friend and Queen, Margaret of Anjou. I even found that I came enjoy her detailed and adventurous account of the tumultuous time, catapulting this novel to one of my favourites of hers. I also liked that aside from the beginning of the story, there isn't much time spent on the supernatural aspects that Gregory often injects (or hints at) in her historical tales. I thought it was enough to keep it interesting but did not distract from the story being told.

My only issue with the novel stem from some lulls in the story, often during the times when Jacquetta leaves court and thus, the action. I sometimes debated whether Jacquetta was a good choice for the point of view of the story, because while she is an interesting woman, there were times she was too far removed from the main plot of the story. I would have also liked to see her later life explored, where her husband and son are murdered.

Rating: B-
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel set in a time of political upheaval in England and I appreciated the focus on Jacquetta of Luxemburg. If you aren't sure about reading a story with references to Melusina for fear of detraction from the historical account, you could probably read this as I have an ignored what you are uncomfortable with. I recommend this to historical fiction fans and fans looking for a good War of the Roses read, and especially if you are already into the Cousin's War series.

Blog Tour Events

Click here for details.
Philippa Gregory will be in Toronto November 1st, 2011. For tickets please visit Tickets.ca by clicking here. Click the image on the right for information on how to enter the Lady of the River Sweeps hosted by Simon & Schuster Canada! See website for details.
Read an excerpt of the book
Visit the author's website

1 comment:

  1. Having read the Red Queen and several other books in this series this was another viewpoint on the time period. It was delightful to read and made me feel as if the events and personalities were unfolding as I read.



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