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The Lady of the Rivers

Only two month ago I posted a review of The Women of the Cousins’ War, the nonfiction book Philippa Gregory shared with historians David Baldwin and Michael Jones. Now she releases a novel based on the life of Jacquetta, one of the women featured there.

The Lady of the Rivers has many teen elements, from the author herself to story elements of witchcraft, romance and court intrigue, even Jacquetta’s connection to Joan of Arc. Given that this is the first in a new series from Gregory, it makes for a nice entry point for new readers, too.

GREGORY, Philippa. The Lady of the Rivers. 443p. (The Cousins’ War series). Touchstone. Oct. 2011. Tr $27.99. ISBN 978-1-4165-6370-9. LC number unavailable.  Lady of the Rivers

Adult/High School–Teen fans of historical fiction absolutely must have a Philippa Gregory book in their repertoire. In this title, the author of The Other Boleyn Girl (Touchstone, 2004) brings to light yet another woman unknown to most readers but whose very presence helps to set in motion events that impact history. As the latest in a long line of women with “the sight,” Jacquetta attracts the attention of the Duke of Bedford who marries her so that he can use her skill to help him reach the alchemist’s dream of turning iron into gold. This doesn’t happen of course, and after his death, Jacquetta, now Duchess of Bedford marries beneath her station for love. Richard Woodville is a faithful husband as well as a loyal subject of the insane King Henry VI. As lady-in-waiting to Queen Margaret (known to her subjects and history as a “she-wolf”) Jacquetta is at the front and center of what will later be known as the “Wars of the Roses.” Passion, adventure, and a touch of witchcraft keep readers on edge as court intrigue shifts and changes with the unpredictability of King Henry’s madness. As the first in an expected series, this title will make teens want to continue reading to find out what happens to the next generation. Recommend Gregory’s recent nonfiction effort The Women of the Cousins’ War (Touchstone, 2011) to those who are curious about the history.–Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.


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