Monday, June 3, 2013

Her Highness The Traitor

Author: Susan Higginbotham
Goodreads Rating: 3.81
Pages: 323
Format: Finished Copy from Publisher at BEA12
As Henry VIII draws his last breath, two very different women, Jane Dudley, Viscountess Lisle, and Frances Grey, Marchioness of Dorset, face the prospect of a boy king, Edward VI.
For Jane Dudley, basking in the affection of her large family, the coming of a new king means another step upward for her ambitious, able husband, John. For Frances Grey, increasingly alienated from her husband and her brilliant but arrogant daughter Lady Jane, it means that she—and the Lady Jane—are one step closer to the throne of England.
Then the young king falls deathly ill. Determined to keep England under Protestant rule, he concocts an audacious scheme that subverts his own father’s will. Suddenly, Jane Dudley and Frances Grey are reluctantly bound together in a common cause—one that will test their loyalties, their strength, and their faith, and that will change their lives beyond measure.

I was so excited when the lovelys at Sourcebooks gifted this book to me during BEA12. As a Historian, I adore The Tudors, and will gobble up any and all books that have to do with the period. Anne Boleyn is my absolute favorite of King Henry VIII's wives, and with the exception of Queen Elizabeth, I love reading about Jane Grey.

This book was all about Jane Grey as told through the eyes of her mother and mother-in-law. Before I started reading this book I had a conversation with my friend about the lack of variety in the names of people during this time. Every girl was named Jane, Elizabeth, Margaret, Mary, or Katherine. Boys had names like Henry, Edward, John, James, or Richard. That often makes following stories like this a little hard to do. Knowing how this can be confusing, the producers of the Tudors changed peoples names to avoid this confusion. This book is one that should have done that. I was often confused not only by who was being spoken about but also who was talking.

I sort of hated how the narrator switched back and forth, often I had no idea who was talking and who they were talking about. Even when she mentioned their titles (Somerset and Suffolk) it got all very confusing. I had a really hard time keeping names and people straight, which can be understandable as there were a lot of key players during this time period.

I thought the writing was wonderful although I came to a point where I would just start skimming because it was difficult to focus on some parts. There were many times (as happens with HF) that things just didn't matter and that made the story progress slowly. I did like that the story was told from a very different perspective. When I seek out books regarding Jane Grey, I never really thought of a book about her from the perspective of her mother in law.

All in all it was an interesting book, but I should have gone into this expecting a longer read, but I didn't and that was my own fault. I still might read more by Higginbotham, but not one with multiple narrators. Either way a fun new way to look at Queen Mary and King Edward.
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