I was reluctant to download this book and devote time to it. Ms. Gregory's last book, The Red Queen, was weak both in story and in substance. I felt vested in the author's continuing telling of the War of the Roses characters and I knew I had some listening time so I committed the credit.
SO glad that I did ! The story of Jacquetta, Dowager Duchess of Bedford and mother to Elizabeth Wydville of "The White Queen," is fascinating in the extreme. This is, naturally, a novelization of her life, but Ms. Gregory fills in period details, politics and sociology in a beautiful blending of fact and fiction. The society's fixation on the unexplained as "witchcraft" is a theme of the novel which travels from Joan of Arc to the rise of King Edward IV (The Duke of York). It is a prequel to The Red and White Queen stories and both characters from the prior novels are re-introduced as children.
The narrator was outstanding. Her voice was extremely fluid and melodic. As I listened, I felt soothed while still being wholly entrapped in the story. It was like not being able to put a book down; I quite literally had my earbuds in my ears around the clock. Since I usually knit while listening, I got a LOT of work on my Christmas projects done. My sole criticism of the book is that, as with the Red Queen, there are a few too many repetitive passages -- I understood almost immediately that Jacquetta knew she shouldn't be telling fortunes with tarot cards; Ms. Gregory did NOT need to repeat the same passage of writing fifteen or twenty times.
All in all, a great read of a very good story. Good choice for fans of Philippa and also for those who want to learn about pre-Tudor English history without reading Allison Weir's non-fiction epics (which I also read).
42 of 43 people found this review helpful
I'm not a historian, so I can't vouch for it's accuracy, but I truly enjoyed this story of Jacquetta, princess of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford, and Lady Rivers. I'm far more familiar with the history of the Tudors and this novel acquainted me with their predecessors and the run-up to the War of the Roses between the Yorks and the Lancasters. I'm eager to use my next credit on Philippa Gregory's "The White Queen", the story of Jacquetta's daughter, Elizabeth Woodville, grandmother to Henry the VIII.
Bianca Amato does a fine job as the voice of Jacquetta.
I'm a fan of Philippa Gregory's works of historical fiction and I believe this novel is one of her best.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about The Lady of the Rivers?
No, I'm not speaking of Mary Queen of Scot's motto. I am speaking of the setting of Jacquetta of Luxembourg's story. This story begins with the end of Joan d'Arc' crusade and ends with her daughter Elizabeth's meeting of King Edward IV. The bulk of the book chronicles her close relationship with Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI. She is her chief lady in waiting, adviser and confidante; like a wise elder sister; witnessing Margaret's act's of folly concerning the Duke of Somerset and unwise policies, as well as her frustration with Henry's bouts with insanity. Jacquetta has her own close calls, being blessed with 'the sight' and times being what they were was almost condemned as a witch. That, along with marrying her late husband's squire and having a dozen or so children with him and not only witnessing but participating in the beginning of the Wars of the Roses make for a mildly interesting story. I find her a little more interesting than her daughter, Elizabeth Woodville and much more so than Margaret Beaufort.
As far as the audio, it is done well. Anyone who regular listens to Gregory's works knows that she usually uses Bianca Amato, who does well with them. Though, considering Jacquetta's French roots, Dagmara Dominczyk is another good choice.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
Most interesting was Jacquetta's gift and her references to Melusine. Least interesting to me was Joan of Arc's part, which almost turned me off and was boring. I understand her significance in history, and at least she didn't dwell upon her like Margaret did in The Red Queen.
Which scene was your favorite?
The scene where Jacquetta put Edward in his place with her comments on how his mother was treated with dignity, and maintained hers while he and his partisans insulted her, her husband, and her son.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No. Too long, and I like to have something to look forward to when I come home from work or have some time at lunch.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Read this before The White Queen or The Red Queen. Makes a great series.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
jacquetta is a very strong and likable leading character....the story was full of details without being too wordy....great story...and i love bianca amato's voice so it was a perfect match...i really enjoyed the book....
20 of 22 people found this review helpful
Anti-climactic. The Story sort of dragged on and on. Narrator kept me listening but feel somewhat gypped with regard to the story line. Preview was misleading, I was expecting a little more mystical content - reminiscent of The Mists of Avalon, but it wasn't.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful