In the third installment of the Plantagenet/War of the Roses series, I was interested to see how The Lady of The Rivers would compare to The White Queen and The Red Queen. Unfortunately, this book was a bit tedious and boring. It took me a long time to get through it. This may have been because I have read the two earlier books, and this book is a prequel, so I knew what was going to happen. The narrator of the story is Jacquetta of Luxembourg, a beautiful maiden who meets the legendary Joan of Arc at the beginning of the novel. Honestly, once Joan was killed, I somewhat lost interest in the story. Jacquetta is a direct descendant of the mermaid goddess, Melusina, (who is mentioned constantly) and Jacquetta has “the sight” because of this. Sure, I love books with a bit of mystery and magic, but Jacquetta doesn’t really know what her powers are, so it is a bit meaningless to know. Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, but after two years, he dies. Eventually, Jacquetta married Richard of Woodville, a lowly squire and she goes from being a powerful Dowager Duchess to becoming a squire’s poor wife. It was a love match and they managed to churn out 14 children through their marriage.
The real scene-stealer of the book is the menacing Margaret of Anjou, the French princess who marries King Henry of England. Jacquetta, a Lancaster, has to deal with the many poor war-time choices of Margaret of Anjou and grin and bear it. Basically, Jacquetta is only known historically of being the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, who later becomes the Queen of England by marrying a York. The rest of the book is mostly filler. Perhaps I got sick of reading how Jacquetta’s husband would constantly risk his life for his king yet always make it home alive to his beloved. He only had a few lines of dialogue it seemed since he always said the same things in different chapters. I do love historical fiction, but the War of the Roses is a bit hard to keep straight since there are so many players during the long thirty year conflict. I like reading things in chronological order, so I would read this book before The White Queen.
In an ironic note, I have tried to finish this book while Matt has tried to finish the latest book of the Game of Thrones series. One night in bed, I said, “Do you realize we are reading the same thing?” He looked at me blankly. “I’m reading about dragons and dwarves. You are reading about history.” Then I got him. “Umm, you are reading about the conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters, which are families based on the War of the Roses about the Yorks and the Lancasters. Duh.”
I love being smart.
Jen’s Rating: ***