The Lady of the Rivers Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Lady of the Rivers

The historical figure Jacquetta of Luxembourg serves as witness to the beginnings of England's War of the Roses. Jacquetta is a woman of noble birth who has to use her family's lineage of magic to survive the intrigue and betrayal of the Cousin's War. As a young girl in France Jacquetta learns from her aunt about their familial ancestor the water goddess Melusina who is said to pass down the ability to see the future to her female descendants. Jacquetta begins to fear her powers when her noble family is given the task of imprisoning Joan of Arc. Jacquetta witnesses what happens to women in power when she sees Joan, who has become her friend, executed for witchcraft.
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After the death of her beloved aunt, Jacquetta's father sends her to England and forces her to marry the Duke of Bedford who is many years older than her. Jacquetta fears that the Duke will be rough with her but he in fact refuses to sleep with her. The Duke reveals that he is working with alchemists to find a way to make gold and Jacquetta will serve as the magical virgin he requires. Trapped in a passionless marriage and forced to scry for the Duke, Jacquetta begins to fall in love with the young, handsome squire, Sir Richard.
After the duke's abrupt death Jacquetta and Richard are free to marry but this enrages the King Henry who hoped to make a useful alliance for the noble Jacquetta. To win back his good opinion Jacquetta goes to France to greet the King's new bride, Margaret d'Anjou, a difficult French princess. Jacquetta soon becomes good friends with the impulsive princess and is privy to all of her wild secrets, including the new queens improper attraction to another man. When Margaret finally becomes pregnant, Jacquetta believes the baby's father is not the king and she urges Margaret to be cautious. The willful queen doesn't listen. King Henry catches Margaret in the arms of her lover. Desperate to protect her queen, Jacquetta urges the king to be blind to what he has seen. King Henry falls into an immediate deep sleep from the shock of what he has discovered and Jacquetta fears that she has inadvertently used her powers to put a curse on him.
The King becomes puppet with Margaret d'Anjou pulling his strings and when the kingdom discovers this a civil war breaks out. The York family believes they have a claim to the crown but Margaret refuses to relinquish it and she becomes a violent ruler to protect her son's claim. Jacquetta is appalled by Margaret's ruthlessness. In a final effort Jacquetta uses her power to forsee that the queen will ultimately lose the war and that the Yorkists will take the throne but Margaret refuses to listen to her warning. Jacquetta cannot follow her friend into battle and returns home to lead a life away from court. However her ambition cannot rest. Jacquetta uses her gift of sight to help her daughter find a husband, the newly crowned King Edward of York.
Best part of story, including ending: The story adds a magical component to the complicated history of England's wars.

Best scene in story: Jacquetta looks into a magical mirror and sees a glimpse of the future: a bloody battle during a snow storm.

Opinion about the main character: Jacquetta is a smart character who is capable of using her wits and her powers to survive

The review of this Book prepared by Afia a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Lady of the Rivers

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   ancient England/Scotland/Ireland Life of a profession:    -   royalty Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   Prince/Nobleman/King Age:    -   20's-30's Has magical powers?    -   Yes Magical/mental powers of main character:    -   can see into the future Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   France

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Philippa Gregory Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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