As a long time Philippa Gregory fan, I tend to read her books over and over again. I read this one when it first came out, about eight months ago, and I really enjoyed it. I revisited it again simply because I tend to read the old books when I’ve finished a new book so that I can have a better understanding of how they intertwine. Ms Gregory is awesome at interweaving her characters’ stories around one another throughout her series, and characters from this one show up in more than one of the Cousins War books.
The story focuses on Jaquetta, the Duchess of Bedford and future mother of Elizabeth Woodville, the Queen Consort of Edward IV. Her story is one of love, loyalty and even a bit of alchemy.
After her first husband dies, leaving her a virgin alone in a foreign country, she takes her fate into her own hands, marrying in secret her true love, Richard Woodville. Their life together is fraught with many bloody battles which are fought over the throne of England, as well as the lands of France. Using the magic of her ancestors, the most important of which is Melusina, the water goddess, she walks the fine line between hoping for prosperity and willing it to happen.
In the meantime, she devotes herself to supporting King HenryVI’s wife, Queen Margaret, through all manner of disgrace and debauchery.
Running through the book is the story of Lancaster vs York, the infamous War of the Roses, and just how women played their part in such a bloody and endless dispute.