Monthly Archives: March 2013
The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins’ War #3)
Drawing on years of research, Philippa Gregory tells the story of the Woodvilles who achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty of the House of York.
Jacquetta fights for her King, her Queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth Woodville, a young woman married to a neighbor for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.
A sweeping, powerful story based on history and rich in passion and legend, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother to the White Queen. Philippa Gregory is writing at the height of her talent.
Philippa Gregory takes a step back farther in time with The Lady of the Rivers; after exploring the lives of the various Tudor women in a succession of novels, she now dives into the rich and complicated history of the Wars of the Roses. This was a period in the 1400s where two branches of the Plantagenet royal family struggled for power over England (and various bits of France).
The protagonist in The Lady of the Rivers is Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who is not generally a well-known historical figure. The story covers Jacquetta’s life from adolescence to middle age, and Gregory fans will realize that it ends with the beginning of Gregory’s 2009 novel The White Queen.
I’ve been critical of Gregory’s kings-and-queens novels in the past, mostly because I would like to see more pure fiction from her, but I enjoyed The Lady of the Rivers. As usual, though, I did not find the protagonist particularly interesting; I felt that she was an observer of history rather than being a participant in it. Of course, in those days a noblewoman’s role was to run the house and lands while the men fought (Jacquetta does plenty of that) and produce children (Jacquetta had sixteen). So maybe the impression of passivity that I received was due to the necessity of sticking fairly close to historical fact. The bits of white magic that all of Gregory’s heroines inevitably indulge in do not come across as exciting enough to compensate me for the lack of action.
And yet there were some definite improvements over recent novels in the series. For one thing, Jacquetta gets to travel around quite a bit, and even though she’s not in the battles I did get a better sense of being near to the action than I usually do. And the supporting cast was good; I particularly liked Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI’s queen, and I found the account of Henry VI’s mental illness compelling. There were several other memorable characters; in fact, I now understand the Wars of the Roses a whole lot better. So if you read historical fiction for the history, you’ll be satisfied.
I’m not going to say much about Gregory’s writing idiosyncracies here, since what I was reading was a galley (which had not even been edited for capitalization and paragraph layout; that surprised me). I desperately want to send her the gift of a big bag of semicolons, though. Gregory is the undisputed queen of the comma splice.
One last comment; I have been reading Gregory for years, and am fascinated to note that the novels are getting less sensual as time goes on. This one was PG-rated.
Overall impression: a good Gregory, and recommended for lovers of English history.
Waiting on Wednesday. This is aweekly event hosted by Crystal Walker, Ana Carter, Shannon Medeiros, Cassandra Livingston, Chennel Lee, and Sophia Carter that spotlites upcoming new releases that we’re highly anticipating.
This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:
How much is too much to love?
Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.
In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. Just when he thought he was invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.
Every story has two sides. In Jamie McGuire’s New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.
What are you waiting on?
Link me up!!!
The Red Queen (The Cousins’ War #2) by Philippa Gregory
Not one of Gregory’s best novels but I still really enjoyed it. Didn’t really like Margaret Beaufort, but I get the impression that not too many people really liked her in real life either based on the views of the other characters. Once again, Gregory was able to bring the characters to life with her gripping battle scenes and amazing details. Even though this is a part of a series, it can stand on its own as well. I would recommend this novel to fans of Philippa Gregory and to those who are interested in reading about a powerful woman who has been largely ignored in the genre of Historical Fiction.
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer Johnson, Bridget&Britney Darwin, Ana&Sophia&Stephi Carter, Cassandra Livingston, Crystal&Nicole Walker at So Many Books So Little Time.This is where book bloggers gather to talk about what books they read and/or reviewed last week, what books they’re currently reading and what books they’re planning to read. This is a great way for us to plan our reading week/month, and to take a sneak peek at what others are reading. Usually Posted on Monday’s.
Read/Reviewed Over the Last Few Weeks:Book Titles are linked to the Book Review: Honor and Obey (Honor #3) by Teresa Mummert Honor Thy Teacher (Honor #2) by Teresa Mummert Honor Student (Honor #1) by Teresa Mummert Release Me (Stark Trilogy #1) by J. Kenner
A Duke’s Promise: A Forgotten Castles Novel (Forgotten Castles #3) by Jamie Carie The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella The Righteous and Very Real Housewives of Utah County by Miguel Santana
Betrayals (Strange Angels #2) by Lili St. Crow, Lilith Saintcrow Season of the Wolf by Jeffrey J. Mariotte Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3) by Kristin Cashore
Neferet’s Curse by P.C. and Kristen Cast