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The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins’ War) Paperback – April 3, 2012

684 customer reviews
Book 3 of 6 in the Cousins War Series

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Editorial Reviews


“Gregory returns with another sister act. The result: her best novel in years.” (USA Today)

“Gregory delivers another vivid and satisfying novel of court intrigue, revenge, and superstition. Gregory’s many fans as well as readers who enjoy lush, evocative writing, vividly drawn characters, and fascinating history told from a woman’s point of view will love her latest work.” (Library Journal)

“Gregory is one of historical fiction’s superstars, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter shows why . . . providing intelligent escape, a trip through time to a dangerous past.” (Historical Novels Review (Editor's Choice Review))

“Wielding magic again in her latest War of the Roses novel … Gregory demonstrates the passion and skill that has made her the queen of English historical fiction.…Gregory portrays spirited women at odds with powerful men, endowing distant historical events with drama, and figures long dead or invented with real-life flaws and grand emotions. She makes history … come alive for readers.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review)) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Her Cousins’ War novels are the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries The White Queen. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds an honorary degree from Teesside University, and is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff. She welcomes visitors to her website,

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Product Details

  • Series: The Cousins’ War
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416563717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416563716
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (684 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC Radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in History at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant worldwide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer.

Wideacre was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time.

Her next book was The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation. Then came Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol explored the human cost of slavery. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son both named John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with research and verve.

The jewel in the crown of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway bestseller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published globally, this classic historical novel won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and by Sony as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

After adding five more novels to her Tudor Court series including The Constant Princess and The Queen's Fool, two of her best-loved works, Philippa moved back in time to write about the family that preceded the Tudors, the Plantagenets. Her bestselling six-book Cousins' War series tells the story of the bloody struggle for the throne in the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women behind the scenes. The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter were adapted by the BBC and Starz in 2013 as the hugely popular TV miniseries The White Queen.

Having completed The Cousins' War series with The King's Curse, Philippa has come full circle back to the Tudor court. Her latest novel is about Kateryn Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII: The Taming of the Queen. Her other work in progress is the young adult series The Order of Darkness, set in medieval Italy after the fall of Constantinople, feared at the time to be a sign of the end of the world.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster, a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. As well as her extensive array of historical novels she has written modern novels, children's books, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book with David Baldwin and Michael Jones: The Women of the Cousins' War.

She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 167 people found the following review helpful By K. Baumanis on September 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the third novel in Philippa's series The Cousins' War, but chronologically (so far anyway) sets the scene and characters for the whole series. What I enjoy the most about her books is their authenticity...her characters do not use 21st century slang or mannerisms, a feature which makes me cringe with some historical novels.Philippa has clearly researched her topic and does not hide or water down how conditions were in those days...fleas, disease, death, women used as pawns in their families with no may offend our present day values but is true and honest. I highly recommend this book and all her writing...
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Format: Hardcover
From a young age, Jacquetta of Luxembourg has known things that other people don't. The ability to foresee future events is a gift she doesn't understand, even though it's an integral part of her family history. The women who came before her, descended from the river goddess Melusina, have been the keepers of the secret of their second sight for generations. Unfortunately, psychic awareness is a dangerous possession at a time when accusations of witchcraft, punished by painful, fiery deaths, abound.

When the book begins in France in 1430, Jacquetta is in the company of the captured girl leader, Joan of Arc. While Jacquetta develops a fondness for Joan, their friendship doesn't last long. In spite of Jacquetta's hopes for Joan's freedom, Joan is burned at the stake, an event that she is forced to witness.

As a notoriously beautiful young woman, it isn't long until Jacquetta captures the eye of the Duke of Bedford, one of the most powerful men in England. At 17, she becomes his bride and leaves France to begin a new life in England as part of the royal court of King Henry VI, where intrigue and treachery run rampant. While most men would have chosen Jacquetta to satisfy their baser desires, the Duke has loftier intentions. He encourages her occult skills and urges her to reveal his future military fate. Unfortunately, Jacquetta has not come into her own yet and is unable to help the Duke in the way that he desires, no matter how much he insists.

While remaining faithful to the Duke, Jacquetta cannot deny the feelings in her heart that tell her that Richard Woodville, her husband's squire and trusted companion, is the man for her.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Kate on May 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Summary: The Lady of the Rivers is the third book in the Cousin's War series spanning the time period near the War of the Roses. Even though it's the third book in the series, chronologically it's the first. The story is the life of Jacquetta of Luxembourg from near the time of her first marriage to the Duke of Bedford and ends near where The White Queen (the novel about her daughter, Elizabeth Woodville) begins.

I like historical fiction. I also generally like Greggory's novels (though she's also had more than her fair share of absolute bombs as well). She's kind of a guilty pleasure for me. I know that her novels are not groundbreaking works of fiction that will be discussed in literary circles for generations to come. It's "candy fiction". It tastes good, but you know there is no nutritional value. This is especially true with The Cousin's War series, where she takes many more liberties with actual historical events than she does in the Tudor novels. Granted, the Tudor family, and Anne Boleyn (obviously from The Other Boleyn Girl, her best work to date) especially, are much better documented in historical documents. So, some of this can be explained away by simply a lack of records from these times and characters. However, the fact still remains that these books are entertainment only, and not a "history reference".

There are things I enjoyed about this novel. It held my interest well enough. I liked the inclusion of alchemy and mysticism which added an interesting angle, even if it did make the already factually flawed novel even more unbelievable. I liked Margaret of Anjou! She was really the only character that I thought was truly dynamic.
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58 of 74 people found the following review helpful By M.Jacobsen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
With a nod given to Philippa Gregory for her contribution (The Other Boleyn Girl) in bringing the genre of historical fiction back from the dead, I'm afraid I simply can't recommend her latest book, The Lady of the Rivers. I'm not going to nit-pick historical details because it is indeed a work of fiction and Gregory has the right to make up whatever she thinks will make a rollicking good story. Unfortunately, accuracy aside, The Lady of the Rivers is not a rollicking good story.
As you likely know by now, the story focuses on Jacquetta Rivers, the famously beautiful Duchess and mother of Elizabeth Woodville, the "commoner" who would eventually become the wife of England's Edward IV. Long neglected by historical novelists, Jacquetta was a good choice for a heroine. Unfortunately, Gregory falls far short in the execution of the novel.
It's hard to summon interest in Jacquetta in this book. She's surrounded by all the mythological/witchy/fish legend stuff of Gregory's earlier books in this series (you know, the Melusina, from which Jacquetta's line was allegedly descended), but that's about the sum total of anything interesting about her. She makes forays into alchemy and forseeing the future, but neither is very convincing.

Perhaps the biggest problem I had with this novel was the dialog. I understand that this particular time period during the Wars of the Roses in England, was extremely convoluted. It's difficult to keep track of all the different families and people who played a part. Gregory chose to solve this problem via dialog. Therefore, every time a character refers to another character, they do so using their full name, title, and relationship.
Now before you start thinking that this might be helpful, allow me to share how it reads.
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