This was my first book by Alison Weir and I enjoyed it a lot. As a historian, Weir brings much to the fiction table in this book. She is able to integrate a lot of intricate historical details into the overall story. When historical details are in question, Weir chooses the most believable route to follow creating a vastly interesting historical adventure.
The focus of this book is the Lady Jane Grey and her rise to the throne of England and subsequent downfall 9 days later. Her story is told from just before her birth and the life of her mother and father. She is a smart girl and lives a rather quiet life at her home of Bradgate Hall. Her mother is not the warmest person and does everything she can to advance the family in the hierarchal structure of English society. Her greatest ambition is to bring Jane to the throne, regardless of the manner or the repercussions.
This story is told through the voice of many different narrators; at last count I think there was 8, but it could be a few more than that. I am on the fence as to whether this many narrators are effective or not. Each of these people brings a different perspective of the events of the day to the table. At the same time it can sometimes get confusing as to exactly who these people are and what their purpose is. Some of the narrators appear frequently (Jane and her mother) and some only appear once (Jane Seymour). I have read other books where multiple narrators are employed (The Boleyn Inheritanceby Philippa Gregory) but the number has been limited to a few. I think this was more effective because you can really make a connection with the characters and understand their importance.
The character of Jane Grey is exceptionally well written. I had no previous experience with the story of Jane Grey and I have to say that I learned a lot. There were times that my heartstrings were pulled. The author really knows how to create an emotional scene.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the reign of Lady Jane Grey as well as politics of the time period.
While Alison Weir primarily writes non-fiction, she also has written several other historical novels such as: The Lady Elizabeth, The Captive Queen, and A Dangerous Inheritance.
This review is of a book from my personal collection and is based solely on my reading pleasure. Review originally posted at The Maiden's Court on June 20, 2009.