Review Blog

Oct 26 2010

Lady Jane Grey: Queen for sale by Caroline Corby

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Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 978 1406312553.
(Ages 10+) Recommended. Historical novel. Lady Jane Grey, great niece of the ailing Henry VIII, is a prized possession to her parents, the Dorsets, and their greed. Used as a pawn in the marriage stakes of like minded climbers within the court circle, Jane is told she is to marry the sickly Edward who follows as king when Henry dies. He is her cousin, and she feels sorry for him, sickly and pale, and guided by favourites who have wormed their way to be close to him. Her other cousins, Elizabeth and Mary she sees rarely. Henry's last wife, Katherine, seeing Jane at odds with her brutal parents, takes her into her household where she seems to lead a peaceful life, until Katherine and her baby die, leaving Jane alone again. With Edward ailing, the Dorsets marry Jane off to Darnley, the son of their benefactor, Northumberland who is close to the throne, and when Edward dies, Jane becomes queen. Nine days later she is beheaded, and so ends the shortest reign in history. Jane is only 16.
A story of the greed of those close to power, using whatever means at their disposal to gain and keep power, the story of Lady Jane Grey is mesmerizing in its sweep of British history following the death of Henry VIII. Corby fills in the background, giving Jane a life beyond the courts, seeing her as a pawn to be used in the game of power in the court. The background of her life and times is stunningly recreated, with the overlay of fiction to hold it together. One in a series called, Before they were famous, the others include Cleopatra, Boudica and William of Normandy.
Fran Knight

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