Monday, October 15, 2012
The Lady of the Rivers by Phillipa Gregory
Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.
Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.
The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing 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.
Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.
Don't bother reading the novel, just read the synopsis above from Goodreads.com and you, basically, have all the important parts of the story.
Being a fan of Philippa Gregory's writing in general, I was looking forward to the third installment of the "War of the Roses" (or The Cousin's war) series. The first and second books were interesting historical stories showing the war from the two sides of the battle but this book seemed quite pointless to the whole series.
You knew the outcome of each battle scene having read it twice already in the first two books, so I ended up speed reading through those parts, which I hate to do in a book. I don't feel like it added anything to my understanding of the battle for the crown in this period.
Had she written this story about Jacquetta as a stand alone novel focusing on just her life and not the War of the Roses, then it would have been a very interesting read. It all felt like the author was trying to stretch out limited information about this subject into her normal length of novel.
It was, of course, beautifully written and laid out, in normal PG style but it just lacked oomph and substance. As for the fourth book in the series, well I don't think I will bother as it will be like reading the same books all over again just from a different person.
Shame really as she managed to make each and every one of her Tudor series novels be strong and interesting in their own right but this one just did not work for me. Only a poor 2 out of 5 stars for me and that is purely for the writing style and nothing for the story.