Author: Alison Weir
Published: Ballantine Books, 2006
Where I Got It: The library
Why I Read It: Because.
*Includes historical spoilers*
I am still traumatized by the apparent suckness of Alison Weir's new book The Captive Queen, so to be fair, I'm reviewing, in my opinion, her best book.
The quote from the front flap that reads "I am now a condemned traitor . . . I am to die when I have hardly begun to live " has haunted me ever since I read this back in September of 2009.
Lady Jane Grey was truly a tragic character. She was the grand-niece of Henry VIII, the granddaughter of Princess Mary and Charles Brandon. In 1553, her cousin Edward VI dies of illness, leaving Mary I next in line to the throne. The general population fears Mary taking the throne because of her Catholic beliefs. Since Jane has royal blood and is Protestant, her parents and father-in-law scheme to put her on the throne. It works--but only for nine measly days. Mary and her supporters push Jane off the throne and into jail. While Jane sits in jail for about a year's time, Mary begins marriage negotiations with Philip of Spain, but he won't come to England until all threats to the throne are disposed of.....a.k.a Lady Jane Grey. She is therefore executed for treason at the age of sixteen.
The title first intrigued me. The Innocent Traitor...talk about an oxymoron. Yet it rings true in the book. Jane was forced onto the throne by her elders. She had absolutely nothing to do with it, she was just a pawn in their treacherous games. Jane was perfectly content with sitting and reading her books all day.
One thing that might be tricky while reading this book is the slew of characters we meet, and by meet, I mean we are told part of the story from their viewpoint. The book opens with the POV of Jane's mother, Frances Brandon, and closes with the thoughts of Jane's executioner (It's heartbreaking! I cried!). The real problem is that most of the speakers sound alike....meaning Katherine Parr, Lady Elizabeth, Jane's nurse, and her father-in-law all sound alike.
Still.....it's just great. One of the many things I love about historical fiction is the fact that old dead people are brought to life again, and in Innocent Traitor,