When I reviewed The Tudor Court by Philippa Gregory I promised I would post my review of her latest novel as soon as I read it. I didn’t really have that many expectations about the book seeing as I knew next to nothing about Lady Jane Grey and I didn’t even know she had sisters, so my mind was pretty much prejudice free on this topic.
The book is split into three sections, each told from a different point of view – from the POV of Jane Grey, from the POV of Katherine Grey and then finally from the POV of Mary Grey.
I found myself struggling with Jane Grey’s section in the beginning as her character didn’t really appeal to me, but towards the end of it, I not only admired her but felt bad for the way her life ended.
[If you don’t know anything about Lady Jane Grey, she was heiress to the throne of England through her mother Frances Brandon, who was the daughter of Mary Tudor (Henry VIII’s youngest sister). On Henry’s death bed, he named his sister Mary’s line as successors after his own children, but young King Edward being an avid Protestant was aware that if he should die without heirs, the throne would pass to his older sister Mary who was a known Catholic and she would try to bring back the country to Catholicism, so Edward pretty much ignored his father’s will and put Lady Frances’ line before his sisters and named Lady Jane Grey his heir upon his death.]
Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England for 9 days and she was later held at Tower for treason and executed along with her husband and co-conspirators. Her two younger sisters and her mother were spared by Queen Mary and Katherine’s point of view starts shortly after Jane’s execution. As I said, I didn’t even know Katherine Grey had existed but her POV in the book broke my heart. For some reason her depiction reminded me a lot of how Elizabeth of York was depicted in The White Queen. Katherine also lived a sad life – she fell in love with a Seymour and gave birth to two boys while being held prisoner in Tower, was multiple times almost named as Elizabeth’s heir and died of heartbreak from being parted from her family.
The youngest Grey girl survived and she was in Queen Elizabeth’s good graces until she married Thomas Keyes who was serjeant porter of the Queen. Of course, that drew Elizabeth’s wrath and she imprisoned Mary for a period. Mary’s happiness was shortlived and she died of plague a few years later.
The book is very well written, in my opinion one of the best ones in the whole Tudor Court series. I found Mary and Elizabeth Tudor’s depictions a bit inconsistent with how they are portrayed in The Queen’s Fool and The Virgin’s Lover but that must be from the different POV storytelling. I loved that Mary of Scots was mentioned as well!
My rating: 4/5 stars
A quote: “The one thing that Jane’s death should teach us is that life is precious and every day is a gift that we should treasure.”
Did you read this book and did you enjoy it? Which book from The Tudor Court is your favorite?