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136 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling journey through history
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...
Published on 17 Sep 2011 by Shazjera

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98 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A return to something like form for Philippa Gregory
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...
Published on 26 Sep 2011 by EleanorB


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136 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling journey through history, 17 Sep 2011
By 
Shazjera - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (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.

Alongside the court intrigue and history, we watch Richard and Jaquetta's relationship spark and grow. In it's early days it survives the fact that she married beneath her and during the cousins differences, survives the distance separating them. Their relationship offsets the negativity that accompanies an unstable court.

I love it that this book is based on a real character from history. The author pieced together evidence of Jacquetta's life and has woven the fact into an absorbing world. There is a lot of truth in The Lady of the Rivers.

Anyone with a love of history, heroines who struggle to find their way in a man's world and find their power will enjoy this book. You won't be disappointed. I would love to see more women from history researched and brought into public awareness! We need a balanced view - not just the `great' men that shaped the world.

I would like to thank the publisher's for sending me a copy and enriching my world for an absorbing week!
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing book, a good holiday read., 17 Sep 2011
By 
Janet Cockerill "grandma" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (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 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A return to something like form for Philippa Gregory, 26 Sep 2011
By 
EleanorB - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (Hardcover)
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.

In between her multiple, and amazingly uncomplicated, pregnancies, Jacquetta's role provides her with a ringside seat in the turbulent theatre of war, conquest, triumph and disaster that ended with Edward of March claiming both the throne and J's eldest daughter, Elizabeth Woodville. Jacquetta and her family move even closer to the throne, as Elizabeth becomes The White Queen, future mother of the princes in the Tower.

Jacquetta's story is overdue for telling and this book has drawn a sympathetic portait of a powerful, but little known career in pre-Tudor politics.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average, 16 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (Cousins War 3) (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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not her best work, 5 Nov 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (stoke-on-trent, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (Hardcover)
When I began reading this novel it was with a sense on great anticipation as I had greatly enjoyed the first two books in this 'Cousins War' series. After only 40 pages or so however I could tell I was about to be sorely disappointed.

Whilst the attention to historical detail is, as always, superb Ms Gregory seems to have fallen into a trap of over dramatising the mystical/supernatural element of this book. I wanted to read good historical fiction, not a load of drivel about mystical water goddesses and alchemy.

I was very disappointed.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice gentle read, 15 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (Hardcover)
The Lady of the Rivers is the third novel in Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series, each book featuring a different lady who lived during the War of the Roses. The best thing about Philippa's books is the fact that you don't need to read them in any specific order. They are not written as a series but rather about the lives of individual women. This one focuses on Jacquetta of Luxembourg, a supposed descendant of the water goddess Melusina, first lady and close friend to Queen Margaret of Anjou, and mother of Elizabeth Woodville. The story follows her throughout her life, from her friendship with Joan of Arc, to her marriage to the English Duke of Bedford, uncle of Henry VI, and her being widowed at the age of 19 and choosing to marry for love.

Jacquetta is a woman quite neglected by history, one of the many women whose lives were almost lost in the depths of history because she wasn't a man, and I believe this novel focuses on that quite strongly. There is a lot about how a woman should be subject to the men in her life and how she should never try to rule over men, that a wise woman can do so whilst maintaining an air of subordination. These were the issues that women faced in the 1400s and thus for this novel very relevant.

As well as this, there is a theme flowing throughout of magic and foresight as Jacquetta is said to have the gift of Melusina. Through her life the card1 `The Wheel of Fortune' is mentioned and referenced to, from her teen years with Joan of Arcs to her adult life towards the end of the novel. The card is even featured on the inner cover. Not only does it foretell that the characters' lives are never steady, that they can fall as high as they can rise, but it also presents the story itself as riding on the wheel of fortune.

I learnt something from reading The Lady of the Rivers, aside from who Jacquetta was, I always assumed that the War of the Roses was the Battle of Bosworth. I feel a little silly admitting it now because even when we were taught about the battle when I was 8, we were told that Lancaster and York held a lot of animosity for each other and with this battle and Henry marrying Richard's wife, this was finally at an end so I don't know why it never clicked but there you go. You'll be surprised what a book can teach you sometimes, I guess.

The way in which The Lady of the Rivers is written gives it a sense of an ongoing story rather than a recounting of historical events. It is very easy to get caught up in the flow of events and the emotion Philippa invests in her characters is so fantastic that I almost cried a couple of times. My only problem with it is that she doesn't put in very much detail and so I struggled to visualise the surroundings. I could picture vague images of medieval castles and English countryside but nothing really solid. There are times when the writing feels more like a sequence of events than a story and it feels a little disjointed. Much more is invested in the characters and their stories.

If you're worried about reading this book because you haven't read The White Queen or The Red Queen - don't. I haven't read those and this is a great read. In fact, The Lady of the Rivers would come before the first two in chronological order. It really doesn't matter which order you read them in or if you read them all. Philippa has crafted a great story and I can't wait until I get chance to read The Women of the Cousins' War, a companion about the three women in these first three books.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Screenplay writers will be sharpening their pens, 27 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (Hardcover)
Philippa Gregory brings the Wars of Roses dynamically to life, weaving her compelling and moving narrative through history.

The research is impeccable and engagingly rendered. The important trends are there, e.g., the English struggling to hold on to Calais while sliding into a disastrous internecine war fuelled, at least in part, by Margaret of Anjou's hatred for the Yorks. The dimly remembered set-pieces are gorgeously dusted off, e.g., Eleanor Cobham's trial and humiliating penance for witchcraft, Jack Cade's rebellion. The legends are there, e.g., Margaret of Anjou watching her Lancastrian faction lose the battle of Blore Heath from a church tower, Eleanor's spirit returning to Peel Castle as a black dog, Jacquetta's link with the mysterious matriarch of the Luxembourg line, the water goddess Melusine.

Multiple settings confer an epic dimension, starting in Luxembourg, then moving with the love story of Jacquetta and her soldiering eventual husband Richard Woodville (later Lord Rivers) between royal palaces of Westminster and Greenwich, Penshurst Place (estate of her first husband John Duke of Bedford - brother of Henry V), Grafton near Northampton (the Woodvilles' home), the English garrison at Calais and various battlefields including St Albans and Towton.

For those who can barely sort their Lancasters from their Yorks, the noble families are presented without dullness or confusion. Au contraire, the procession of aristos is unforgettable, the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, Richard of York and his wife Cicely Neville, the Stanleys, the Woodvilles, the Greys, the Duke of Buckingham (Staffords), the Dukes of Somerset (Beauforts), and lesser-known ones like Lord Scales and Lord Say. It certainly had me scurrying to the Web on my second read.

I loved it. Greatest tribute is to say it has stirred my interest in the 15th century. And I think it's eminently filmable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating woman!, 20 Aug 2013
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This was my favourite book of this series. I really love the way Phillippa Gregory makes the characters come alive on the page. I have loved reading the different points of view of all these historical characters and watching them on screen too. This book gave more of an incite into where the characters had come from and how some of them may have spent their earlier lives. I will be trying to find out more about this period in history now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 4 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (Hardcover)
Another page-turner, written by Mrs. Gregory who can be trusted that her books are irresistible. Fascinating reading for anyone, who is interested in War of Roses period of English history. Warning - you will find yourself totally taken by that story of Jacquetta Woodville!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 18 Jun 2012
This book is amazing. I've nearly finished reading it. As I'm a history fan this was the right book for me. Love the romance and mythical side of it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Very happy with this purchase.
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The Lady of the Rivers (Cousins War 3)
The Lady of the Rivers (Cousins War 3) by Philippa Gregory (Paperback - 29 Mar 2012)
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