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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).
53 of 54 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.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful