The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins' War)

by Philippa Gregory | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1416563717 Global Overview for this book
Registered by CynthiaA of Brantford, Ontario Canada on 4/10/2012
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by CynthiaA from Brantford, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, April 10, 2012
A gift from Simon & Schuster Canada, through goodreads.com.

This is the third novel I've read from Philippa Gregory, and of the three, this was the weakest. The story itself was fast paced, and Jaquetta was an interesting point of view to portray, but for me, the characters lacked depth. In particular, I was frustrated by the relationship between Jaquetta and Margaret of Anjou. Gregory tried to repeatedly inform the reader that Jaquetta and Margaret are loyal friends, but it never felt true to me. From their first meeting, Maargaret was petulant and spoiled at best, selfish and cruel at worst. Jaquetta's loyalty to her seemed foolish and misguided, and if it had been portrayed as loyalty to Margaret's position as Queen, it would have been more believable. But to ask us to believe that Jaquetta saw something redeemable, something likeable in Margaret was difficult to imagine because Gregory never showed the reader anything redeemable or likeable about her. Yes, there were times we felt empathy for her loveless marriage, but never anything deeper than that. Their friendship did not ring true to me. Margaret appeared mulish and sulky, and Jaquetta pandering and occasionally silly.

Additionally, there were frequent acknowledgements throughout the book from Jaquetta herself regarding the suffering of the people under the reign of Henry VI and Margaret. Usually, these comments came when Jaquetta was not with the Queen, and then as soon as she is back at Court, she blithely overlooks it all out of "loyalty". Therefore, Jaquetta's loyalty to Queen Margaret, born of friendship, made Jaquetta look blindly naive, foolish, and even selfish at times.

This is not to say the book is completely without merit. I enjoyed the tie ins between Jaquetta's bloodline to Musellina, and I did very much enjoy Jaquetta when she was with her family and in particular, her husband, Richard. In fact, Richard was by far my favourite character. Gregory did a better job at creating a loyal man, making it clear that he was loyal due to his family's history with the Lancasters and due to the King's position, not out of any personal affinity for them. He was able to balance his loyalties with his personal opinions and to lead effectively, for the course of this novel. I would have enjoyed more detail in the bits about alchemy, and in particular the chapters regarding Duchess Eleanor and her trial.

Still, entertaining and a worthy read.

(This book is reserved for the historical fiction exchange.)

Journal Entry 2 by CynthiaA at Brantford, Ontario Canada on Thursday, June 07, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (6/7/2012 UTC) at Brantford, Ontario Canada

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

This book is being released as part of moriquen's historical fiction exchange. I hope you like it!

Journal Entry 3 by Meg72 at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal on Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Wow, what luck! This was the only book I didn´t have in the series. How did you guess? Thank you so much. I´m jumping with joy :-)

Journal Entry 4 by Meg72 at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal on Monday, September 15, 2014
This is the third book in “The Cousins War” series and my favourite so far, because it explains how the terrible civil war between Lancaster and York began.

Jacquetta is a French noble girl who captures the eye of the Duke of Bedford, the hero who guarantees the English rule over the French territory and, with him, is introduced to the world of mysticism and alchemy, which she finds fascinating but also fears. When her husband dies, she marries his squire, Richard Woodville, for love and returns to England to be the new queen´s lady in waiting. The people of England are suspicious of the French queen and when they start to lose land in France, they blame her and her bad influence on King Henry VI. Among those who are discontent with the king´s lack of good judgment are the York nobles and they decide to take action when it is more than obvious that the king is no longer well to rule…

Like the other books in the series, there is a lot of intrigue, back stabbing, suicidal decisions and bloody battles, all mixed with a bit of romance. But unlike Elizabeth Woodville or Margaret Beaufort, I found Jacquetta a more likeable character, more loyal and trustworthy than the others. It was also fascinating to discover how England lost its French territories in only a few years, for I did not know this part of English History. Just goes to show that it takes only one deranged king (or queen) to throw away what took decades or centuries to conquer!

I´m saving this book for a VBB.

Journal Entry 5 by Meg72 at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal on Saturday, October 18, 2014

Released 4 yrs ago (10/18/2014 UTC) at Ílhavo, Aveiro Portugal

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Going to another portuguese bookcrosser as a RABCK.

Journal Entry 6 by wingcontowing at Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
With me now.
Thank you soooooo much Meg.
I've become a slow reader, I have loads of books to read and still have the White Queen to get to, but I'll get to this one eventually.

Journal Entry 7 by wingcontowing at Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Read it last month, finally!
Definitly, I'm done with P. Gregory. It seems like allways the same, as to even getting confused with the stories told, even if I read them a while apart.
Anyway, I'm glad I could read it or I would never know and would stay curious :)
Available now for whoever wants to give it a try!

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