Monday, March 25, 2013

This is Not Historical Fiction!

The Nine Days Queen: A Portrait of Lady Jane Grey by Mary M. Luke

Summary: Lady Jane Grey, that tragic teenager caught up in the tempests of Tudor intrigue, has always exercised considerable attraction for biographers. More, one might add, than her historical importance deserves, but for all that this is a welcome treatment. Her story, essentially that of a pawn in family members' hands as they strove for both riches and power during the uncertain years following Henry VIII's death, is a dramatic one which is well told.

Review: A good history of Lady Jane Grey marred by the author assuming what the historical figures, Lady Jane Grey especially, were thinking and feeling. 

The story of Lady Jane Grey is a fascinating one. How could someone only be queen for nine days? It also reiterates to me that I would hate to be a queen. I cannot imagine being forced into becoming queen. Jane was queen for only nine days. She was later executed at the age of either sixteen or seventeen. It's a period filled with turmoil, unrest, and grabs for power. Any good history of Lady Jane Grey has to start before she becomes queen, perhaps even before she is born.  

The author, Mary Luke, certainly starts in the appropriate place to give the reader a good background to what eventually causes Jane to be crowned. Luke covers the death of Edward VI, the short reign of Jane, and the rebellion of Jane's father, which causes Jane's death. As far as I can tell, the history is accurate and fits in with what I've read about the time period and the events in this book. You can assume or make educated guesses, but you really don't know. What really bothered me was how Luke assumed that Jane was feeling this or feeling that. Rumors and half truths are best kept for fiction. You can certainly mentioned that it was rumored that Jane's mother was abusive to her, but please don't assume it as fact and incorporate it into your supposed nonfiction book. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that are fascinated by Lady Jane Grey. 

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