by Alison Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If my faults deserve punishment, my youth at least, and my imprudence, were worthy of excuse. God and posterity will show me more favor.
~Lady Jane Grey, in the Tower of London, February 1554
Everyone knows the basic story of Lady Jane Grey, but this novel really brought her to life for me. Author Alison Weir is a historian, so this book was painstakingly researched and all of the characters have so much depth and personality to them. I found myself either loving or hating each of them and feeling true sorrow for the innocent Jane.
Lady Jane Grey has Tudor blood; her ambitious mother is cousin to Henry VIII and in line for the throne behind Henry's son Edward and daughters Mary and Elizabeth. Jane's parents wanted a male heir, not a mere girl, and Jane's young life has been spent being the abused pawn of her repulsive parents but much loved by Mrs. Ellen, her nurse since birth. Jane has also had a loving mother figure in Katherine Parr, King Henry VIII's last wife, but when Henry dies, Katherine soon remarries and dies after a long and harrowing childbirth. Jane is sent back home to her parents, where the plot remains to marry her to her young cousin, King Edward. When Edward dies of consumption, the plot changes from marriage to a ploy to overthrow the next in line, Princess Mary, and crown Lady Jane queen instead. Poor Jane wants nothing to do with this, but as a young 15 year old girl, can do nothing but obey her parents and the all powerful Duke of Northumberland. The wheels are set in motion for betrayal and heresy that will bring the innocent girl to an early death.
This story is so well told through the eyes and imagination of the author that it left me wanting more. The story is a centuries old one that we are all familiar with, but the telling of it left me feeling very emotional and wanting to change history, if only we could.
I have done some ancestoral research and have found, before reading this book, that Lady Jane was a cousin of mine, (as was her mother, but I'm choosing to ignore that part!). I loved reading her story through the voice of Alison Weir.
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