17 Jan 2012



Lady Jane Grey was born into times of extreme danger. Child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she was merely a pawn in a dynastic power game with the highest stakes, she lived a life in thrall to political machinations and lethal fervour.

Jane's astonishing and essentially tragic story was played out during one of the most momentous periods of English history.

As a great-niece of Henry VIII, and the cousin of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, she grew up to realise that she could never throw off the chains of her destiny. Her honesty, intelligence and strength of character carry the reader through all the vicious twists of Tudor power politics, to her nine-day reign and its unbearably poignant conclusion.
....... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): It is over.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 149): "Shall we say five hundred pounds as a down-payment, five hundred on Jane's betrothal, and the rest on her marriage?"
"Done," says Dorset, as if he were closing on a land deal rather than what effectively amounts to the sale of his daughter.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Without a doubt I'll be keeping this.

A big fan of Philippa Gregory's historical novels I never thought I'd find an author I'd like as much - in Alison Weir I think I may well have done so though it has to be said I didn't particularly like the layout of this her first non-fiction book.

Told from the perspective of several different people, nearly all of them women, the story is narrated by the Lady/Queen Jane (Grey) who reigned for all of nine days, her household and those closest to the then royal household, and takes place in the years from October 1537 up until February 1554.

To be honest, though this was a riveting, in many ways, frightening story, I didn't really learn a lot from it having read several other novels set at this period in history (Philippa Gregory's included) BUT it was interesting to read the events from the viewpoint of so many different characters and, as always, I couldn't fail but to be shocked by how the destiny of an individual (in this case Mary's) was shaped by the politics and the power struggles of that time. How no matter how intelligent, outwardly confident and, in some cases, scheming and hungry for power (I'm thinking of Jane's mother, Frances, here) a woman was she was ultimately in the hands of some man or other.

Great reading for all fans of the historical novel and especially those with an interest in the Tudors, though many of you will know the sad outcome of the story, you may well find the ending harrowing and yourself in need of a fistful of tissues - I know I did.


Trac~ said...

Sounds like a good read definitely! Another one of yours that I will be checking out (if I ever get the time to read again) - *sigh* Have a great day my friend! :) xoxoxo

anilkurup said...

History in itself is novel like. I always enjoyed it as a subject of learning in school.
The intrigues and plots, the deceits and tragedy, the ruthlessness and chivalry are in the folklore of history.
I guess must try to grab this book if possible thanks

John McElveen said...

Must say I love the CPR bit--as a Paramedic since the 70's we have seen a lot of changes.

The Stayin Alive song definitely provides the correct amount of Beats per minute--although I have come into the ER doing Chest Compressions- singing- ANOTHER BITES THE DUST!

Hey--you have to do something to keep your sanity!


....Petty Witter said...

I've heard that Nelly the Elephant works just as well John.

Patti said...

I haven't read any historical dramas for a while. I'll look for this one at the bookstore. Thanks for the review.

GMR said...

Sounds like you really enjoyed it! Historical novels are not really my forte BUT I will definitely be adding it to my "author's to recommend" should I need additional suggestions for fans of the genre. *jots note* Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!

Suko said...

Petty, I enjoy historical novels, and this one sounds absolutely incredible. Thanks for another wonderful review!

Dorte H said...

I like reading historical mysteries, but preferably a bit later than this one.

It sounds good though - from the time when women were treated like cattle.

Kelly said...

I love Historical Fiction and have several books by this author deep down in my TBR stack. I think they are all non-fiction accounts, though: Henry VIII's wives, Henry VIII's children, and The Princes in the Tower. Perhaps I need to dig them out sooner than later!

I'll definitely put this one on my wish list. It sounds very good.

Mama Zen said...

I'm definitely getting this one!

Dizzy C said...

Right up my street!

Lovely review, thanks


Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

sounds like a book you wish you've had written.

i love reading historical fiction.
i'm definitely going to have to check it out.