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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War, #3) - Philippa Gregory I have to agree with others who have already reviewed this novel. It covers an amazing, interesting, dynamic time period and people, but this particular telling of it is bland, simplistic, and underdeveloped. I had already read The White Queen and The Red Queen, which I felt quite similarly about. The Woodvilles are an exceptional family who certainly do take many turns on life's wheel of fortune, but the story could be told more deeply, with more facts & character development. I feel like the author was unsure of her readers' capability to take in too much. As others stated, repetitious use of people's names/titles/relationships was annoying and came across as unrealistic dialog. Also, the Wars of the Roses seemed so glossed over that I had to remind myself of the true scope of this tragedy. Gregory tries to demonstrate this through a few characters comments about the number of dead and referring to the Queen's army's ruthlessness, but I still didn't feel that the war was well enough described.

I didn't know what to make of the Joan of Arc material at the beginning of the book. Clearly, others weren't fans of this part and I didn't get much from it other than a background reason why Jacquetta was afraid to show that she had special skills in this "men's world" (another theme that is repeated a few too many times for me).

Philippa Gregory seems to only loosely hold to facts in many of her books and I think this one was better in that respect (unless you count the endless references to Melusina & witchcraft in that category). I did thouroughly enjoy the relationship between Jacquetta and Richard and felt great compassion for them knowing what was to come. Overall, a quick, easy read, but not profound in it's characters or coverage of history.