The Lady of the Rivers

The Lady of the Rivers

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.
  • Simon & Schuster UK | 
  • 512 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781847374592 | 
  • October 2011

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Lady of the Rivers includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Phillipa Gregory. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


The life of Jacquetta is extraordinary. She is born into the St Pol family, the rulers of the Duchy of Luxembourg, and witnesses the fate of Joan of Arc while still a girl. Married as a matter of policy to the great Duke of Bedford, it is only when she is a young widow that she can begin to shape her own destiny. Though she has the Sight, at once a blessing and a burden, she still has to navigate the waters of the English court and attempt to build a stable future for her growing family in a time of great change and increasing danger. Her longed-for marriage to Richard Woodville is a deep and abiding love match but comes at a great cost, and their rise in the world is followed by yet further twists in fortune. Yet Jacquetta Woodville, Lady Rivers, is a unique and powerful character and one who manages to place her family in a key position to survive the forthcoming wars.


  1. Jacquetta’s first main influence is her great-aunt, Jehanne of Luxem
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About the Author

Philippa Gregory
Photo credit Santi U

Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the internationally bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Her Cousins' War novels, reaching their dramatic conclusion with The King's Curse, were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen.
Philippa's other great interest is the charity that she founded twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 180 wells in the primary schools of this poor African country.
Philippa is a former student of Sussex university, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University. Her love for history and commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire and welcomes visitors to her site


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