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 Woodville’s 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 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. A sweeping, powerful story rich in passion and legend and drawing on years of research, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother of the white queen. – Publishers Website
I really enjoyed this book. This is Philippa’s third book in the Cousins War series, which I have read all three fiction books up until now. The White Queen is about Elizabeth, Jaquetta’s Daughter; The Red Queen was about Lady Margaret Beaufort who happened to be Mother to Henry VII; and this latest book who is about Jaquetta, how she was married off to the Duke of Bedford when she was young. Jaquetta had eventually married the love of her life Edward Woodville too much displeasure and threats from court saying that if she married him she would be left penniless – and her dowry from her first husband taken away because Edward had no standing or royal bloodline.
She was also taught from a young age that she may have magical powers; it is when she is accused as a witch that things take a dramatic turn. Between the war of the Cousins, there is nothing but treachery, war, long absences away from her only true love, their children, and not knowing what to expect in the future. I quite enjoyed this book more than the previous The Red Queen, it was much easier to understand, I was more engrossed in this book, the characters I identified with more as their strength to survive was clear through the people they befriended, the people they held alliances with ( Henry the King’s Wife at the time was only interested in becoming Queen when her husband fell into a deep sleep and to quash her enemies) Lancaster vs. York, Good vs. Evil.
Even now as I think about all three books, I still have no idea who will ultimately prevail, but bloodshed will once again be spilt. I am looking forward to the next novel in the series.
I have come across some negative reviews of this book on goodreads – about how the information is dumbed down because her audience is already set up for her, I don’t believe that. Possibly she did leave out some of the magic,etc, but I do not feel that it had taken away from the plot or storyline whatsoever. Sure, I did feel as if there should have been perhaps more about the magic part, because she talks about it much more in The White Queen, but, ultimately, I don’t feel it had taken anything away from the novel. She was writing about Jacquetta, not her daughter. It was more about the love story between her and her husband and the sacrifices they had to make during that tumultuous time between England / France and all the children they had with one another.