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Friday, June 25, 2010

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

Title Innocent Traitor

Author- Alison Weir

Released November 6, 2007

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ISBN-13: 978-0345495341

Appropriate for Young Adults to Adults

The “Nine Day Queen” as she is known in the history books…….I appreciate the author’s title better The Innocent Traitor for that is what Jane Grey was. I had no idea what I was getting into when I first started this book. I do not typically read historical fiction, but this book appealed to me for some reason. The author had written nine previous non-fiction historical accounts of Britain’s history so I knew she would have to be well-versed.

In The Innocent Traitor, Ms. Weir gives us a bird’s eye view of what is happening from many perspectives. I know that is what I loved about this book! I got to venture into the thoughts of Lady Jane Grey, her nasty mother Duchess Frances, the evil Northumbunderland and his whiney son Guilford, the sweet and kind Queen Katherine Parr and the oh so wonderful nurse who cares for Lady Jane Grey from her birth to her death. In researching the book afterward I found so much of it was completely accurate, right down to the actual words spoken by Lady Jane Grey. She was used as a pawn by her parents and Northumbunderland to be put on the throne in hopes that they could rule through her. Lady Jane thwarted their plans by being too smart for them, trying to refuse the crown and when realizing she could not, she did not bow down to their influence. Once crowned, Lady Jane took control. Unfortunately, her reign only lasted for nine days. Then Jane’s cousin and rightful heir, “Bloody Mary” was asserted to the throne.

This book is so many things. It is about the birth and life of a young girl who is exceptional in so many ways. Lady Jane stands for her Protestant beliefs and thrives on learning. If nothing else her parents do give her that, the ability and the tutors in which to learn from. The Innocent Traitor is a beautiful story about a girl who should be a tragic story but because of her beliefs, it’s not. After reading it I only hope that I can emulate the thoughts and beliefs of a precious 17 year old girl whose life has been used by so many. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Read it…and let me know what you think would have happened in the history books had Mary NOT come to power and Jane stayed on the throne….hmmm, quite an interesting thought!

From Goodreads Description:

I am now a condemned traitor . . . I am to die when I have hardly begun to live.

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.

Alison Weir uses her unmatched skills as a historian to enliven the many dynamic characters of this majestic drama. Along with Lady Jane Grey, Weir vividly renders her devious parents; her much-loved nanny; the benevolent Queen Katherine Parr; Jane’s ambitious cousins; the Catholic “Bloody” Mary, who will stop at nothing to seize the throne; and the protestant and future queen Elizabeth. Readers venture inside royal drawing rooms and bed chambers to witness the power-grabbing that swirls around Lady Jane Grey from the day of her birth to her unbearably poignant death. Innocent Traitor paints a complete and compelling portrait of this captivating young woman, a faithful servant of God whose short reign and brief life would make her a legend.

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Daphne said...

I really liked this one and although I know the different narrators bothered a lot of people, I thought they added a lot to the story - especially the last one (how would you like to be that guy?!).

Elena said...

I've been curious about this book for a while. Definitely going to have to read it now.

dolleygurl said...

I read this and loved it as well. I love how historically accurate it is. I think that it would have been a very different place had Jane been able to stay in power. I mean, there wouldn't have been all of the burnings if Mary wasn't in power, just as a starter.

Stacy at A Novel Source said...

I agree dolleygurl, Bloody Mary definitely would not have had her reign of terror! So many lives would have been changed if Lady Jane had been able to stay in power...like her sister Lady Katherine who was a Lady in Waiting in Queen Elizabeth's court ~ she could have stayed married to her love. And Guilford - hmmm, how different he was in the end!
Elena - you should pick this one up! It's so good!
And Daphne - I too loved the different narrators - I thought that really added to the story!

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

I loved your review so much I immediately went to add this to my TBR list - and discovered it was already there! Can't wait to read it myself :)

Jenny Girl said...

Another Queen I have not read about. I always felt bad about poor Jane but it's nice to know she went down swinging as best she could. Thanks for the review.

Mystica said...

Thanks for this review.

Marg said...

I was one of the people who didn't really like the multiple narrators. Without that the book would have been a much better read in my opinion.