Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shortest Reign in History

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

Summary: Historical expertise marries page-turning fiction in Alison Weir’s enthralling debut novel, breathing new life into one of the most significant and tumultuous periods of the English monarchy. It is the story of Lady Jane Grey–“the Nine Days’ Queen” –a fifteen-year-old girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of the religious and civil unrest that nearly toppled the fabled House of Tudor during the sixteenth century.

The child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she is merely a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, Jane Grey was born during the harrowingly turbulent period between Anne Boleyn’s beheading and the demise of Jane’s infamous great-uncle, King Henry VIII. With the premature passing of Jane’ s adolescent cousin, and Henry’s successor, King Edward VI, comes a struggle for supremacy fueled by political machinations and lethal religious fervor. 

Unabashedly honest and exceptionally intelligent, Jane possesses a sound strength of character beyond her years that equips her to weather the vicious storm. And though she has no ambitions to rule, preferring to immerse herself in books and religious studies, she is forced to accept the crown, and by so doing sets off a firestorm of intrigue, betrayal, and tragedy.

Review: A tragic tale told through many eyes.

This book is told through the first person view many characters and a couple are only used a few times. I would say that a lot of liberty is taken with the thoughts and emotions of some of the characters, especially the parents. But this liberty (and no one truly knows the innermost thoughts of the historical figures that the characters are) adds to the emotional depth of the story. It also allows the reader to see how the plot to put Jane on the throne progresses. Lady Jane Grey is an incredibly tragic figure and I still find it incredible she was on the throne for only nine days.

Jane is portrayed as a very sympathetic character, but I still couldn't help the fact that I wanted to smack some sense into her. I know children was supposed to be obedient to their parents, but Jane had no spine. She was very learned, but didn't have much common sense. She would fight over silly things and give in over big things. I have read one other book about Lady Jane Grey and that book, along with this book, have her personality significantly changing making her a stronger person once she takes the throne. I wasn't able to buy that though. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this to those interested in the Tudors or historical fiction about royalty.

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