The Lady of the Rivers, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI.

Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her household for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV.

Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected.

With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9781847394668

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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

I would give this more than five stars if I could! A superb book. The madness of Henry VI was brilliantly portrayed, as was the character of Maragret of Anjou. The slide into war is chilling, and I got to the point where I could scarcely turn the pages as I knew the Battle of Towton was looming. Having encountered Jacquetta in the previous two books it was good to have a novel told from her point of view.

Review by

Having enjoyed the recent series of The White Queen, I thought I would give the books a read as in my experience a book is usually better than it's TV/film adaptation. I chose to start with this book as, although it is officially the third book in the Cousins' War series, it is the first book in the chronological order. I started the book with high expectations and it certainly did not disappoint me. The book follows Jacquetta's story, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, future Queen of England. Jacquetta's involvement with King Henry VI and his wife Margaret of Anjou is a fascinating story, it is interesting to follow the story of Henry VI and Margaret as the King loses control of his mind and his kingdom. If the other books in the series are as good as this one, then I shall be very happy indeed. I now have a craving to find a non-fiction book that tells me more of Jacquetta's story.

Review by

The Lady of the Rivers is the third in The Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory, following on from The White Queen and The Red Queen; although chronologically it can be read first. The Lady of the Rivers begins in France in 1430 and is about the life of Jacquetta of Luxembourg. The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, (who meets and marries King Edward IV) while in The Lady of the Rivers we learn all about Elizabeth's mother, Jacquetta.After being widowed by the Duke of Bedford, Jacquetta becomes a very close friend of Margaret of Anjou, King Henry VI's Queen.The novel contains all of the intrigue, danger, alliances, betrayals, sieges and power for the throne that thrilled readers (and myself) in The White Queen, at the same time chronicling the life of a fascinating woman in history. During her lifetime, Jacquetta gave birth to 14 children (amazing that she survived), outranked every other lady at court (apart from her friend the Queen) changed allegiances from the House of Lancaster to the House of York, was trialled for witchcraft and later saw her daughter become Queen. In the novel she is portrayed as being loyal to Margaret of Anjou and a devoted and loving wife to her second husband, Richard.The magic and gift of foresight learned and inherited from Jacquetta's Great Aunt play a small role in the novel yet provide a wonderful backstory to the magic in The White Queen. (It was one of my favourite aspects of the novel, and really sets it apart from any other historical novel covering the War of the Roses).My only wish when reading any novel by Philippa Gregory is that I could retain (and later recall) 100% of the historical information imparted along the way. The White Queen was made into a successful and TV series, and I also hope her other novels in the Cousins' War make their way onto the big screen as well.I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and engaging novel and was instantly caught up in this most fascinating period in our history all over again. The next in the series is The Kingmaker's Daughter and I can't wait to read it.

Review by

This book is told from the viewpoint of Jacquetta of Luxemburg, who became the Duchess of Bedford when she was 17, making her wife to the regent of England - the duke being uncle to Henry VI who was then too young to rule.The story covers the period of 1430-1464, thus it comprises of the times leading up to the Wars of the Roses, and the early years of these conflicts.When the duke dies not long after their marriage, the duchess "lowers" herself by marrying Sir Richard Woodville. Together they produce many children, one of whom - Elizabeth - grows up to marry Edward IV, so as their eldest daughter goes on to marry Henry VII, Jacquetta - a little-known historical figure - is in fact Henry VIII's great-grandmother.Author Philippa Gregory notes that she considers Jacquetta an overlooked woman form history. As there is little info on Jacquetta's life, Ms Gregory was able to use her imagination to fill in the gaps, focusing heavily on the superstition that Jacquetta was descended from the legend of Melusina; a woman believed to be a goddess who associated her powers with water.I think I may have enjoyed this story more had there been less emphasis on the supernatural and a bit more realism, but that's not to say the magical elements drag the novel down. I'm also not a fan of narratives told in the present tense, but this is just a personal taste, not a criticism of the author.Worth reading.

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