The events in The Lady of the Rivers, the third book in the Cousins' War series, come chronologically first than both the first two books in the series. The Lady of the Rivers is focused on Jacquetta, Elizabeth Woodville's mother.
A heir to the dukes of Luxembourg and a descendant of the river goddess Melusina, Jacquetta has the ability to see the future. As a young girl, she meets Joan of Arc, who is a prisoner of Jacquetta's uncle, and understands that she shares her same gift. Jacquetta is soon married off to the Duke of Bedford, the English Regent of France. Her husband chose her for her gift of second sight, and decides not to consummate the marriage. He introduces Jacquetta to alchemy and asks her to do predictions, as he's trying to create the Philosopher's Stone. After her husband's death, Jacquetta realizes she 's in love with his Chamberlain, Richard Woodville. They become lovers and get married; then they go back to England to serve at the court of King Henry. Jacquetta becomes the first lady in waiting of young queen Margaret of Anjou.
Jacquetta and Richard love each other very much and have many kids (fourteen in total). The king makes Richard Count of Rivers; the name was chosen as a reference to Jacquetta's ancestor Melusina. Many events threaten the Lancaster throne: young king Henry goes into a long, mysterious sleep; queen Margaret chooses a new favourite and has a child whom the king is not able to hold or recognize; and Richard duke of York wants the throne for himself.
I liked this book, a good addition to the series. I actually read this before the other two books in the series, but it doesn't really matter as this book could be considered the first in the series, and the other two books tell stories that happen at the same time. Jacquetta is a strong, determined woman. She senses that her gifts can be dangerous and lead her to be accused of witchcraft, so she keeps her hidden. She's not afraid of going after love, and doesn't back off from the scandal that her marriage to Richard Woodville is causing at court.
One could argue that Jacquetta's life is not very eventful; it might seem like a long list of pregnancies and births. I suppose she did spend a lot of time in confinement, since it was approximately two months (or six weeks, I can't remember) for each child. However, she was privy to many events from the royal court. She fights for the king and quee, but mostly she fights to keep her family safe. She's especially concerned about her firstborn, Elizabeth, who will later marry king Edward.
I like this series very much and want to continue reading it.