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The Lady of the Rivers Hardcover – 15 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184737459X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847374592
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (533 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC Radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in History at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant worldwide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer.

Wideacre was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time.

Her next book was The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation. Then came Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol explored the human cost of slavery. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son both named John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with research and verve.

The jewel in the crown of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway bestseller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published globally, this classic historical novel won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and by Sony as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

After adding five more novels to her Tudor Court series including The Constant Princess and The Queen's Fool, two of her best-loved works, Philippa moved back in time to write about the family that preceded the Tudors, the Plantagenets. Her bestselling six-book Cousins' War series tells the story of the bloody struggle for the throne in the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women behind the scenes. The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter were adapted by the BBC and Starz in 2013 as the hugely popular TV miniseries The White Queen.

Having completed The Cousins' War series with The King's Curse, Philippa has come full circle back to the Tudor court. Her next novel will be about Kateryn Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII: The Taming of the Queen. Her other work in progress is the young adult series The Order of Darkness, set in medieval Italy after the fall of Constantinople, feared at the time to be a sign of the end of the world.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster, a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. As well as her extensive array of historical novels she has written modern novels, children's books, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book with David Baldwin and Michael Jones: The Women of the Cousins' War.

She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

Product Description

Review

`Popular historical fiction at its finest, immaculately researched and superbly told' --The Times

'Witchcraft, passion and politics power the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford' --Fanny Blake, Woman & Home (Oct Issue)

'You'll be enthralled, intrigued and excited by the personal stories during a historically momentous time' --Alexandra Green, Essentials Magazine (Oct Issue)

'The latest historical novel in Philippa Gregory's Cousin's War series introduces us to Jacquetta. The young widow finds comfort with Richard Woodville but their relationship must be kept under wraps. An epic read from the author of The Other Boleyn Girl'
FOUR STARS --Star Magazine (19/9)

'Gregory evokes passion, murder, magic and mystery to bring the War of the Roses to life' --Good Housekeeping (Oct Issue)

'Gregory's real fascination has always been with those women in the past who struggled to find ways to escape the limitations that men impose upon them and exercise power themselves. Her novels similarly work hard to burst free of the straitjacket of the genre in which they initially seem to fit. In The Lady of the Rivers, Jacquetta is a memorable addition to the author's portrait gallery of women who endeavoured to make history rather than merely become its victims' --Nick Rennison, Sunday Times (18/9)

`This is yet another fabulous book from the Cousins' War series, and Gregory's painstaking historical research has certainly paid off. It's a brilliant read and refreshing to learn about the Plantagenet women and their heroic stories.' --Leicestershire and Rutland Life, November 2011

About the Author

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the internationally bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Now she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds. Her other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells for the primary schools of this poor African country. A former student of Sussex university, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire. She welcomes visitors to her site www.PhilippaGregory.com

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Shazjera TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
On this magical fictional journey (based on fact) through history, we get to experience Jacquetta's life by her side.

Before we begin the story there are family trees (if you read my reviews you will know I love to see a family tree!) detailing the houses of York, Lancaster and Tudor in the summer of 1430.

The story begins in a cell in Castle Beaurevoir (1430) where we see Jacquetta become friends with Joan of Arc and then we journey with her through her marriage to John, the Duke of Bedford and on to her life as the wife of Richard Woodville and confidant to Queen Margaret.

As the Duke of Bedford's wife we see her welcomed in London and obeying his rules. Throughout her marriage to Richard we see her grow as a woman with much importance in her own relationship as well as that alongside Queen Margaret.

We see what happens in a man's world when a woman walks to the beat of her own drum and experience betrayal and deaths. The fear of living on the edge, not knowing who you can turn to is a page turner in itself!

History really does come to life in this book with the rival cousins at court ...with all the politics and alliances that are made and broken and the day-to-day living at court. We get a brief glimpse of how the peasants/commoners live and a chance to spend time at the edge of a battle.

I thought that Joan of Arc's demise was powerfully portrayed as seen from Jacquetta's perspective.

I really enjoyed our journey into alchemy and was heartbroken with Jacquetta when she heard the song of Melusina. This aspect of the gift she inherits, a song likened to that of the music of the spheres, is torture. Not enough time to do anything constructive but the knowledge that a family member will be leaving this earth.
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Grandma Janet on 17 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Third in the Cousins' War series this novel concentrates on Jaquetta, mother of the White Queen,Elizabeth Woodville.It is not necessary to read the other two books first,they each stand alone.
This is a sweeping story covering Jaquetta's early life in France where she meets Joan of Arc, a marriage of convenience when she marries an English Duke and one for love to Richard Woodville of Grafton Manor, Northamptonshire.She has gifts which enable her see the future, and with her intellect, beauty and ambition she soon becomes a leading figure in the royal court of Margaret of Anjou and the ailing Henry VIth.
A huge amount of research has been put into the writing which supports the romantic aspects of the novel and make them credible.The rival dynasties of Lancaster and York fight for power while the people of England suffer immense poverty .If you yawned your way through the never ending Wars of the Roses at school, as I did, this book certainly puts meat on the bones . It is worth reading for the historical detail and the fascinating thread of alchemy and witchcraft which runs through this and earlier novels by Philippa Gregory.
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98 of 106 people found the following review helpful By EleanorB TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read the first two books in the Cousins' War Trilogy, and having been desperately disappointed by them both, I sent away for this one more in hope than anticipation. However, I was pleasantly surprised as this represents a return to something like form with a tale which is character driven, historically vibrant and slightly less focussed on magic, although that element remains.

Jacquetta's arrival on the world stage into the turmoil of Joan of Arc's short lived but successful career as a king maker, is extremely well done. Even in an age accustomed to almost daily brutality, the cruelty of Joan's trial and execution was acute and shocking to its witnesses, one of whom gruesomely is Jacquetta. Joan was judicially murdered by men who could not stomach her gender and her achievements. There is no doubt that the young Jacquetta, although high born and wealthy, will also be subject to male control. Swept up by the all powerful Duke of Bedford, for reasons other than lust, her odd first marriage and early widowhood give way to what seems, historically, to have been something of a medieval coup for a woman whose marriage was a matter of state policy - a love match with Richard Woodville, paid for with no more than a hefty fine. As the fruitful Lady Rivers, she soon finds herself back in the maelstrom of royal politics when she becomes lady in waiting to young Margaret of Anjou, bride of the fragile, inadequate and easily dominated King Henry VI. Margaret's need for love, for an heir and for support to keep her ailing husband on his throne, lead inexorably to the Wars of the Roses.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Claire Simmonds on 16 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
I used to love Philippa Gregory. Unfortunately everything she now publishes is rushed, poorly written and badly edited. Her readers aren't stupid - the dialogue is banal and clunky in some places as she spells out who is who through it. For example, "you know Richard, Duke of York is coming." Then two pages later, "Richard, Duke of York is here". Fine a couple of times, but this goes on through the whole book - surely by the end we know who is for York and who is for Lancaster. And I'm fairly sure the characters don't need reminding that their cousin or whoever is Duke or Earl of wherever.
I enjoyed the story though - Jacquetta's life is very interesting and it's nice reading fiction about a woman who's not 'over-done' eg. Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I. I just keep wishing every time a new PG book comes out that she will have taken her time, not been pushed by the publishers to release it, and is not just writing by numbers. Unfortunately she is a long way from her earlier (excellent) novels such as Meridon, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Queen's Fool etc.
This isn't her worst (that prize definitely goes to 'The Other Queen' which I couldn't even finish. But by no means is it her best either.
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