Libby's Reviews > The Lady of the Rivers

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
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's review
Feb 21, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: great-historical-fiction, fun-with-the-middle-ages, wars-of-the-roses, royal-ladies-fiction

Jaquetta of St. Pol, the viewpoint character of Lady of the Rivers, was up to her elegant eyebrows in most of the main events of the late 1400's. Somewhat inexplicably, there is little written about her, and she does not always appear well in what sources we do have. Therefore, I was intrigued to see that Phillipa Gregory had chosen her as her narrator. I was pleased by her characterization of this interesting woman in interesting times. I spent a happy evening and afternoon with Jaquetta and her numerous relatives and was pleasantly entertained by their company. Therefore I was a little taken aback when I read several reviews of this book that were rather nasty. Don't get me wrong, I can and will nasty all over books that disappoint or anger me. But this was a harmless piece of romantic fiction, cotton candy for the reader who has enough gritty reality in her daily life. It was not entirely accurate but after all, fiction is by definition, NOT REAL. I don't think that I am a devoted fan of Phillipa Gregory, as I have only read three of her novels, but I do stoutly maintain that I liked this book and I think that most people who like historical romance will enjoy this.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Mary (new)

Mary Miller I haven't read this one yet, but I know several people who were unhappy with it. I belong to the Richard III Society, and many members have expressed distress at the way Ms. Gregory slants her stories. She tends to put a feminist spin on a story which is historically inaccurate and she plays fast & loose with the facts. If a reader prefers historical fiction that sticks close to the facts, as opposed to historical romance, which has a lot more leeway, then Ms. Gregroy presents problems.

Libby Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I'm a lifelong Ricardian myself and agree that she plays havoc with the facts, but so did Shakespeare. What I would really like to see, are reasonably up-to-date biographies of Jaquetta, Anne of Burgundy, Bedford himself and Marguerite of Anjou.(I would also like to be thin and rich.)

message 3: by Mary (new)

Mary Miller It's been a long time since I read it, but Georgette Heyer wrote a book called "My Lord John, about John, Duke of Bedford, Jacquetta's first husband. That may be the one that was left unfinished at her death. I'll have to dig out my copy.
I seem to remember that one of my Ricardian acquaintances wrote a book about Margaret of Anjou. If you like Ricardian fiction, have you checked out Anne Easter Smith's novels? She is a Ricardian. I think she has written four. I have three, but have not read them. I overdosed on Ricardian fiction a while back and stepped away from it in favor of non-fiction.

Libby I love Georgette Heyer's writing and I own a copy of My Lord John. I wish she had been able to finish it. I have read one of Anne Easter Smith's novels, but I found it a little too saccharine for my taste. I did and do love Rosemary Hawley Jarman's books and of course Sharon Penman's Sunne in Splendour. The Wars of the Roses period is my favorite historical era and I have several shelves of related non-fiction. It does disappoint me that so many historians are unable to look at the facts from a Ricardian viewpoint. It's a classic case of "Give a dog a bad name and then hang him." Sad and short-sighted,no?

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