Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her household for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV.
Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.
©2011 Philippa Gregory (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"Sexy...scandalous...smart." -Redbook"Gregory is a consummate historical author." (Historical Novels)
"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)
I'm a keen reader of classic, historical and contemporary fiction, biographies, history and science.
I found this a very enjoyable story, just as I would expect from Philippa Gregory. I am interested in history and a good fictional account makes it easier to remember characters and events than a strictly factual one. Of necessity, there is more of this story that is imagined than her Tudor series, since the records are sparser, but I trust Philippa Gregory to be faithful to known fact and make reasonable interpretations. This story is engaging and entertaining and led me to do some research of the period once I felt I had a basic understanding. One thing I would have liked more of is period detail to explore the experience of life at this time more deeply. As for the narration, I know that good narration is very hard to achieve and I feel that Clare Corbett did quite well. The narration is clear, smooth and pleasant to listen to, which are the most important factors.
I actually really enjoyed the story of this, the latest in Philippa Gregory's 'Cousins War' series. It was interesting, entertaining and, unlike in both the previous books in this series, I liked the 'heroine'. However I found that as an audiobook my enjoyment was completely ruined by the lacklustre and uninspired narration. Little effort was put into different character voices, the only inflection was a sort of whimsical, wishy-washy huskiness and the occasional mispronunciation drove me demented! It really destroyed my ability to enjoy the story and I will be religiously avoiding this narrators other works although I still look forward to more from the author.
An avid reader who usually has two or three books on the go at one time I particularly enjoy historical fiction such as Barbara Erskine's.
I've always been a huge fan of Philippa Gregory and fell upon this one after having recently read both the White Queen and the Red Queen which were great reads. However, this one disappointed and I'm still not sure why. It read more like a vague fairy tale with a few battles thrown in and although the historical points are always well made I felt that it was a little thin in places. Sorry.
Although i read the book, i was excited when the book came out on audible. An English married duchess marries her squire, Richard Woodville is a tale of one of the greatest romances of the age, although it shocked many of her peers. Their union produces Elizabeth Woodville, queen to Edward iv and their children influence the course of history. A fantastic novel.
I love the classics, history, fantasy, the odd thriller - I will try most genres if the plot description appeals.
I would definitely recommend it to a friend who has an interest in British history - I'm a history teacher but had limited knowledge of the Hundred Years War and the Wars of the Roses. This book inspired me to do a bit of background research on the characters and context of the events. The story itself was of course a little fanciful but I'd rather learn about the events from the perspective of an empathetic character with an interesting life.
Clare Corbett became the voice of Jacquetta and performed Margaret of Anjou well, though she wasn't as strong with the male voices I thought.
There was one section, when a child dies, that stayed with me. Deaths of children were so common at the time, but the description brought home the fact that they were still as precious as they are today to their own parents.
Loved The Cousins' War series. I felt that this book should be the first in the series not the last.
Absolutely fabulous story telling and narration marvellous. P Gregory at her very best. unputdownable sore ears now!!
Excellently written. Characters brought to life by Philippa Gregory, as always. It has everything you could wish for in a book, romance, excitement, murder, conspiracy, conflict, etc.
She achieves a very interesting, "page turning" story, although obviously embellished to make it appealing. However, I believe her interpretation of the historical facts, is pretty feasible.
No. Bianca Amato's pronunciation was awful. Was she an American trying to imitate the British accent (badly)? It really began to grate on me, especially her pronunciation of "orf" instead of "off" throughout the book, among other things. It took away some of the enjoyment of the story as I got to the point of wanting it to be over, so that I didn't have to listen to her any more. A great shame. However, that said, if you can stand the narration, I believe she pitched the character voices and general mood of situations well.
Will be making sure that future books don't have Bianca Amato narrating.
The story is a bit repetitive and padded out. We are told every detail and feeling three or four times.
The main character is unusual and interesting, but behaves very inconsistently. She's supposed to be in constant terror of being tried for witchcraft and 'foreseeing' - which is understandable and believable - but keeps doing it all the same, including for a Queen she knows to be vengeful and capricious.
The narrator has a very strong 'cut-glass' accent; some words and phrase ('orf' for 'off') sound like a parody of a member of the Royal Family. Not everyone will dislike this, but I did. She mispronounces well-known place names like Carlisle and Berwick - there is really no excuse for this. Worst of all,she does a toe-curlingly bad attempt at a Scottish accent for one very minor character. The main and supporting characters, who are French or from various parts of England, don't come in for this treatment - they are all rendered in her own voice.
The writer gives many characters their full name and title every single time, presumably because nearly all the men are called Richard, Thomas or Edward. It get a bit wearing to hear Richard-Duke-of-York or Thomas-Duke-of-Somerset or my-husband-Richard every time the person speaks, does something or is referred to, sometimes three of four times in a few sentences. The intelligent listener or reader can follow without this.
Overall, not up to her usual works, especially The Taming of the Queen, which I would highly recommend.
"Dramatic on all accounts"
I have the book and now have listened to the audio version. It is a brilliant story and really well written. The narrator, although great at what she does, was a little trying to listen to in parts. I felt I was listening to an audio version of a Shakspearean play rather than a brilliantly researched historical novel - a little too dramatic and some of the voice portrayal was extremely melancholy on not fitting for what the character was expressing in some areas. Also I found she paused a little too often midway through a sentence - but then that maybe the difference between my reading it and her reading it.
I found I enjoyed taking the time and reading the book itself more than listening. Just my opinion though the story itself is excellent, the narration is not to the same standard.
Going through the motions of the story, Jacquetta is a young girl to begin with and an older woman by the end but the narrator portrays her as older all the way through. I was expecting her to age the character as the story progressed but it seems that my expectations were not to be realised. Instead, the narrator reads through an older woman's eyes as if she is looking back through her past. Just me again seeing things differently.
Don't let this deter you from listening to an amazing story - you may have a very different opinion of how the narrator reads the story.
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