Monday, October 10, 2011

The Lady of the River by Philippa Gregory

The fascinating story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford.
The woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the Wars of the Roses.

Back Cover Blurb:

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 Woodvilles 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 whole 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.

Jacquetta of Luxembourg was distantly related to the Kings of England. When she was 17 years old, she was married to John of Lancaster, the Duke of Bedford. Their arranged marriage was to strengthen ties between England and the Holy Roman Empire. Unfortunately, their marriage was childless and her husband died a few years later.

King Henry VI of England sent Sir Richard Woodville to bring the young widow, Jacquetta, back to England, but along the way, they fell in love. Without waiting for the king’s permission, they secretly married before they arrived, risking the dower lands Jacquetta had been granted upon her first husband’s death as long as she did not marry without the king’s approval. The King was incensed and refused to see them. Wisely, the couple paid a £1000 fine to appease him. Their marriage was a happy one and over the years, Jacquetta bore Richard sixteen children, one of which, Elizabeth Woodville, would become the future Queen consort Elizabeth Woodville.


Read an Excerpt at Scribd
Philippa’s website
Simon and Schuster Book Page

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