I was drawn to this book after watching the first and only season of The White Queen by STARZ (2013). After the season was over I found myself searching for the books to which the show was based upon. The White Queen was based loosely on author Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction/women’s history books. She has written a number of them including; The Lady of the River, The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughters. These are all parts of the Cousin’s war story. Gregory’s books were unknown to me until I watched the show. Kudos to STARZ for making a show worth looking into once it was over.
The author’s website, http://www.philippagregory.com has all of her books listed. It can be difficult to navigate due to the books were written out of order. There is a timeline and some handy boxes which can help if you are looking for a specific group of books by this author.
Back to the review, The Lady of the Rivers is an amazing story of a real women, named Jacquetta, who believed she and her family were descended from Melusina, the river goddess. She is rarely spoken about by historians, which just adds to the mystery surrounding her. In the book, Jacquetta is forced to marry the Duke of Bedford around the age of 15 years old. The Duke was English regent of France. In the story the Duke marries her not because he is interested in her sexually or for her monies, but for her innocence and abilities as a seer. The Duke dies and leaves his lands to Jacquetta. She ends up marrying, without the permission of the King of England, to her deceased husband’s squire. The King pardons their marriage and Jacquetta and her husband become close to young King Henry VI and his new bride.
From a purely entertainment standpoint, this book has it all. Magic, Witchcraft, love, passion, death and treason can be found inside the pages of this book. From a historical standpoint, it gives the reader the change to learn about a woman who is rarely talked about or studied. This woman would have been around to see many things change and transpire during the famous Cousins’ War in England between the Houses of York, Lancaster and Tudor, around 1452.
Her daughter Elizabeth goes on to marry the usurper, Edward York, and becomes The White Queen. Her story is continued in Philippa Gregory’s book, The White Queen.
I recommend anyone who loves history, is a woman or simply loves a good Royal story to give this book a chance. It is worth reading.