The Lady of the Rivers
is the third book in Philippa Gregory's The Cousin's War
series, a fictional accounting of the War of the Roses between the Lancasters and the Yorks for the crown of England. The story of Jacquetta Rivers, the Dowager Duchess of Bedford, is an especially compelling one, particularly from the aspect of women's lives of this era. It was a world completely controlled by men, and the only way that women could control their own destiny was through witchcraft or spirituality. Said to be a descendant of the river goddess Melusina, Jacquetta was an eye-witness to one of the most important power struggles in British history. She was the second most powerful woman in England in the early 1400's, and played a key role in the story of the York's and the Lacaster's rule. Her daughter Elizabeth became the Queen of England when she married Edward IV, and again when she married Henry Tudor, King Henry VII, making Jacquetta Henry VIII's maternal grandmother.