Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Women in history walked a fine line and could rarely step outside of the bounds of the control of men. Women learned to represent themselves as men wanted them to be and to hide their true nature of self. If they chose to venture outside of the rule of men, they would face the consequences that were designed to destroy the will of women.
The Lady Of The Rivers begins with Jacquetta meeting Joan of Arc who is being held prisoner on her uncle's farm. Jacquetta has the wisdom of sight but conforms to live within the confines of her society. Joan of Arc is burned as a heretic before Jacquetta's eyes and it changes the way she lives her life. Eventually Jacquetta is arranged to marry an old English duke, The Duke of Bedford, who controls most of France. He doesn't want a wife so much as a prize and someone who can foretell the future. This marriage is not destined to last long as the Duke dies after a short while and Jacquetta falls in love with her squire, re-marries and has lots of children.
Jacquetta, The Duchess of Bedford, lives in England with her family and serves King Henry VI and his young French wife Margaret. The Lady of the Rivers serves an unpopular king who is self-serving and naive. The heir to the throne is the Duke of York but the King won't speak to him and instead appoints others to advise him causing a rift in the family. The book, The Lady of the Rivers, marks the historical beginnings of the cousins war and chronicles the life of the mother to Elizabeth, Jacquetta's first born, who becomes known as The White Queen.
I love history, especially the little known history of women. Our history books have pretty much forgotten the importance of the female gender and women are under represented. Gregory is a historian of women and all her books herald the power of women and their importance in history. I love to recommend her books to students and pass on the knowledge and perspective she has taught me as a history teacher. History stands for His Story. If you want to learn Her Story, you have to read some of Philippa Gregory's novels and revel in the knowledge of women throughout time.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Philippa Gregory always writes about women who defy the odds and break the rules. Go and venture into the realm of possibilities.