Monday, February 2, 2015

Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle

From the author of Queen’s Gambit, which People magazine called, “A must-read for Philippa Gregory fans,” a gripping historical novel about two sisters who tread as dangerously close to the crown as their tragic sister, Lady Jane Grey, executed after just nine days on the throne.

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Freemantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for.

From “a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction,” (People) Sisters of Treason brings to vivid life the perilous and romantic lives of two little known young women who played a major role in the complex politics of their day.

Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
 arc via netgalley

Sisters of Treason is Elizabeth Fremantle's second book, I read The Queen's Gambit last year and enjoyed it.  Having read a number of books already about the Grey sisters I was somewhat reluctant to read another.  It's a part of history that saddens me, with each reading I'd hope that the past was rewritten and their destiny would have changed.  But alas it never does.

Knowing what awaits Catherine and Mary Grey would another version keep my attention and add to their story?  The answer is a resounding yes, Sisters of Treason is a fresh and engaging look at this time period.  Beginning with the execution of their older sister Jane Grey this story is told from the POV of Catherine and Mary as well as Levina Terrlinc.  Who is Levina Teerlinc you ask, well I sure did.  Levina is a real historical artist who specialized in minatures.

An emotional story that follows the short reign of Queen Mary and then Elizabeth.  There are two things that stood out for me here.  Frances Grey is portrayed in a way I've never seen before, as a real mother not the tyrannical, uncaring mother as she usually is, but as a mother who actually cares about her children the way a mother naturally would.  I like to think that she was used as a political pawn by her husband just as Jane was. 

"it shall teach you to live and learn you to die"

I really enjoyed Mary's voice here, it was more intelligent then expected (by others) she brought a real sense of maturity and insight to this story.  I liked that, just because of her physical deformity history has a way of believing that because of a physical handicap that means it is also mentally so.

Lovina just rounded out this book nicely, totally unknown to me and I was happy to learn who she was and  would like to increase that knowledge now.

Thank you netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.  It was a pleasure to read and hopefully the author will continue to write about a time in history that she is quite knowledgeable in.
"I remember Maman once saying of the old Queen that power corrupts.  I have thought much on it and it seems to me that it is not power that corrupts, but the fear of its loss,"  she pauses with a sigh.  After all Mary and Elizabeth Tudor were just girls once, not so different from my sisters, or any other girls, for the that matter.  It is fear that changed them."

1 comment:

  1. I have Queen's Gambit on my shelf waiting to be read now. This one sounds very good. I am adding it to my list!