Thursday, 24 November 2011

Book Thoughts: The Lady of Rivers By Philippa Gregory

   So, I'm calling this post 'Book Thoughts' because, frankly, I'm not very good at doing full book reviews, but sometimes I want to say something about books that I've read and I figured 'thoughts' was the best way to explain it. On occasion, if I feel it's necessary, I will write an entire review. Especially about books that are not as well known.

Last night I stayed up late finishing Philippa Gregory's latest addition to her novels about 'The Cousin's War', The Lady of Rivers. The book is about Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to Edward IV of England (Elizabeth is the narrator of the first book in the series, The White Queen).
This book was interesting on a variety of levels - it didn't irritate me in some of the ways that the other books in the series have; in earlier books I wasn't pleased with the first person present tense narration, and with The Red Queen I was left wanting to know more. Which is interesting that Gregory was able to weave the story she did when she said in the author's note that there is not a lot of information about Jacquetta, and with the wealth of information about the subjects of the other two books they felt a bit lacking.
The love story between Jacquetta and Richard Woodville, a servant of her first husband and her second husband, was quite remarkable. The passion between the two of them was lovely to read.
I was overwhelmed by how much I liked Margaret of Anjou, one of the 'she wolves' of medieval england and remarkable woman in her own right - but I find this happens with Gregory's books quite a bit. The narrator's story is interesting, but there is always a captivating character that is close to the narrator that knocks your socks off. In this case, it was Margaret of Anjou and Joan of Arc. Margaret took on her husband's country when he essentially lost his mind, roused an army and fought like a true warrior, all to protect the inheritance of her young son. Can't help but respect that.
My favorite part of the book was the parts with Joan of Arc, and the impact that she had on the entire story. I was always curious about the point of view of the people that were around her, what people thought about what happened to her. I think that Jacquetta's sympathizing with her seemed genuine, and I wondered if this was something common. But, this was the real stand out section of the book. All of my irritations with parts of the previous books were redeemed when I read the parts with Joan - Gregory seemed to be in her element, and it was reminiscent of my favorite book by her 'The Queen's Fool'. I'm even going to try to incorporate Joan's sign for the wheel of fortune in my day to day life.

My thought about this book is that if you're a fan of Gregory, it is a must read. If you're interested in a different perspective of The Cousin's War from a key player, it is also worth the read. If you're at all interested in Joan of Arc, it is definitely worth the read. Her part of the story, the impact she had, really makes you think.

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