INNOCENT TRAITOR by ALISON WEIR.
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.