Tuesday, 17 January 2012

LADY ELEANOR HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Cousin's War 3: The Lady of the Rivers - Philippa Gregory

Release Date: 15/09/11


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 house-hold 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.


I’ve been a fan of Philippa’s since I originally read her story, The Other Queen, which not only enchanted me but gave me all the things that I look for in a story, a character I want to spend time with, emotional involvement and of course a setting where no matter how much you wished for a different outcome you know what will happen in the end.

Yet sadly for me, the currently series set in the Cousin’s War really isn’t giving me what I want. There isn’t enough available material for the author to utilise to help bring it altogether (a fact that Philippa admits as most of the historical texts are about the male lineage rather than dealing with the female) and with the same timeline told from various points of view, the reader will feel that they keep reading the same thing in each title. Add to this, that for me, this book about Jacquetta should have been released before the White Queen to get the full effect and I was left feeling a little cheated, especially when I wanted the author to delve into the characters emotions about her husband and son’s beheading which was completely ignored.

That said, the authors writing style is there, its gripping with decent pace, but with no real substance to help back it up (a fact backed up sadly with the Cousins War Historical Title) it felt that it floundered pretty early on. All in, I’ll read a few more of Philippa’s titles but unless they head more towards the factual and documented which will allow her to present the principle character to a modern audience then I won’t be staying with her for much longer.

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