My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have read two books by Philippa Gregory previous to this. The first book I read by her was The White Queen, about Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV, mother-in-law of Henry VII. I found the book intriguing, but not too good. For quite a while, despite the popularity of The Other Boleyn Girl, I did not pick up any other book by her.
The Lady of the Rivers, by Philippa Gregory, about Jacquetta, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, was breathtaking! This was an engagingly told story of the daughter of Melusina, who has the gift of sight. She is at the forefront of so many changes in fortunes, of her own and those of the throne.
The deep love she bears for her commoner husband, Richard Woodville is central to the story. Jacquetta is shown as a woman who tries to avoid the cut-throat politics of court and strives to serve the king and queen with loyalty.
I loved the descriptions of the court, and how the couple, Jacquetta and Richard try to lead the life of a normal couple, concerned about their children and their futures apart from the hurly burly of the court. Richard is forever away on some campaign set by the king, and Jacquetta has to be at the court at the Queen’s side.
This lovely book is what made me read the story of The White Princess, (The Cousins' War). This story is about the daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV, married to the bitter enemy of her parents, Henry VII. He ascends to the throne of England by defeating and killing King Richard of York in the battle of Bosworth.
His wedding to Elizabeth of York is solemnized to cement his claims to the throne of England. This was to end the war of the Roses. The white rose of York is seen as finally merging into the red rose of the Plantagenets. The cousins’ war does end, but not without its cost. Henry VII is tormented by suspicion as to the loyalty of his subjects. He feels the people of England yearn for the return of the Yorks.
The story had a good start, as Elizabeth mourns Richard and is torn between the advantage of marrying the King and the disgust she feels at marrying the man who killed her lover. Later, the pace turns languid as the novel harps on Henry’s suspicions. The appearance of the lost Prince of York injects some life into the story, but the advantage is soon lost.
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