Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lady of the Rivers.

This extremely well researched fictional-historical novel by Philippa Gregory shows how much women in English politics of the 15th century influenced wars, palace intrigues, and various other conflicts.

Jecquetta, the heroine of the opus, is a descendent” of Melusina a fictional river goddess able to see the future, and whom the Duke of Bedford marries in 1430’s.

The duke never consummates the marriage due to his age, but shows extreme kindness to young Jacquetta, a noble from Luxembourg.

There are many women in history that we never hear about, but they played important roles in politics albeit behind the scenes in teh 15th century, and no doubt, some even today.

When the Duke of Bedford dies, the love between Jacquetta and Richard (a loyal squire in the court of the Duke of Bedford) evolves, and contrary to counsel they marry. During the long and happy marriage she bears her beloved husband ten children.

The author explains how and why Richard was granted lordship, and the way Jacquetta arranges marriage of the oldest daughter to marry into another politically influential and rich noble family.

The 30-year War between the English Houses of Lancaster and York is explained vividly, while the warring of two “armies” progressed, and was resolved.

For the history buff, especially English history, The Lady Of the Rivers is an irresistible read, forcing the reader to continue page after page to follow the evolution of politics in the 15th century in England.

Jacquetta if great help to the Queen, whose husband suffered from and unexplainable and unidentifiable disease rendering him incapable of ruling impoverished England effectively, and at least control, if not stop, internal strife from getting out of hand.

A fascinating book that explains the way Medieval English looked, how the population was manipulated, wars were conducted, political intrigues employed, and how noble women’s’ wills and interested shaped history.

Highly recommended.

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