Fascinating historical novel of one of the more neglected figures of the Tudor era. Weir, a historian by trade, writes without the over-the-top soap opera elements that you find in Philippa Gregory, but creates a compelling story and intriguing characters nonetheless.
Born a political pawn, Lady Jane Grey, great-niece of Henry VIII, spends the entire 16 years of her life furthering the political aims of her ambitious family. Ultimately, she surpasses even their wildest hopes when her dying cousin, King Edward VI, names her as his successor. Jane becomes Queen of England, reigning for just nine days before she's deposed by Edward's half-sister, Mary, and charged with treason. This debut novel by historian Alison Weir presents a vividly rendered, richly detailed portrait of an intelligent and perceptive young woman subject to events beyond her control. Historical Fiction newsletter November 2014.
A great book that tells about Jane Grey from a young up until her sad end. It shows a young girl who was manipulated by many important historical figures. An amazing book!
I did like the book but I agree that while I liked the style of hearing from different points of view it turned out to be to much. Too many points of view had me a bit confused at the end.
Very good - Alison Weir takes the facts and is able to turn it into a fascinating story without bogging it down with a lot of politics. Yes, there are politics in it but it doesn't drown in it like some historical novels I've read. Can't wait to read another book by her.
In-between the short reigns of Edward and Mary, two of Henry VIII’s progeny, there was Lady Jane Grey, a cousin of theirs, who ruled for a mere nine days. My first heads-up about her (after running across her name on some list of British royalty) was in the film Lady Jane with Helena Bonham-Carter in the title role. As the first daughter of Frances Brandon (daughter of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk) and Henry Grey, Jane was deliberately hoisted onto the throne after Edward’s untimely death for the sole political purposes of enriching her parents, the family name, as well as prevented a Catholic relapse in England should Mary ascent the throne. That is, a power vacuum was deliberately created to crown Jane and her ill-suited husband (also forced upon her) Queen and King. Said vacuum was premised upon not only a strict interpretation of legitimate succession (precluding both Mary and Elizabeth, as they were made bastards), but also by the clever machinations of Henry Grey and his allies in court who got Edward, on his death-bed, to rewrite the succession with Jane immediately following him.
As in her more recent work of historical/biographical fiction, Weir succeeds brilliantly by staying true to the historical record all while creating a very convincing drama that unfolds nearly flawlessly. (I use “nearly” as I’m sure there may be a mistake, grammatical or historical, that I cannot for the life of me detect.) She also includes a perhaps invented or imagined incident in this story that she did to brilliant effect in The Lady Elizabeth; this being the indiscretion between the Lord Admiral and Elizabeth, which greatly effected his marriage to Katherine Parr, the widow queen to the late King Henry VIII.
By novel’s end, Jane – now imprisoned in the Tower after Mary’s forces rout the Protestant cause upon the former’s entry into the city of London – holds resolutely to her vow that she will not reconvert to Catholicism in order to be spared beheading; a generous concession made by Mary, even though the latter’s advisors passionately argued in favor of Jane’s immediate death. However, a foolish attempt to re-seize the throne by Jane’s father and his Protestant allies quickly ruled in favor of Mary’s advisors, and Jane was is sent to the scaffold.
Tudor history is marked by many a beheading, but it seems neither tiresome nor pointlessly gratuitous here. Weir creates a very human story of a young woman forced by her parents to be something that she has no desire to be -- an age-old conflict between parents and their children, if you really think about it. And it is precisely this on which Weir proves herself to be a consummate narrative writer.
Historical fiction at its best. Based on well researched fact.
An excellent novel about my favourite queen- Jane Grey. Captures the perspectives of numerous historical figures, giving each character depth and balance. A great read.
Well researched and interesting novel. The author has written several non-fiction books on this time period as well.
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