The Tudor Trilogy #2
Simon & Schuster
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
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.
I have always had an interest in the stories and lives of those that lived in the era of Henry VIII. So when Jenny asked me to read Sisters of Treason, I gladly accepted. Who doesn't love all that intrigue, plotting and the many beheadings! All the wickedness that surrounds being heir to the throne. The story begins with the beheading of Lady Jane Grey. She was one of the successors of Henry VIII but was quickly overthrown. We are shown the complicated court life of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I through three different viewpoints. Two are the sisters of Jane Grey: Katherine, young, beautiful and a successor to the throne; and Mary, the youngest sister who suffers from some physical deformities. The third person is Levina, the royal portrait painter. Her observations are appreciated because using her focused painters eye, she sees the court from a removed and non-threatening viewpoint. She tries to protect the Grey sisters by working behind the scenes.
Katherine, because of her beauty and position, tends to go through her life with blinders on. She is at the center of the intrigue and her life is constantly in peril but she tends to romanticize what's going on around her. As a counterpoint, we have Mary's thoughts. I enjoyed Mary, even though she's entrenched in the middle of all the drama, her physique allows her to be slightly removed and therefore grasp of the dangers that surrounded she and her sister. These were treacherous and convoluted times. No one speaks the truth and everyone is out to improve their standing in the court, no matter who has to die! What is even more mind boggling is that these girls were hardly more than children when they were being pledged for marriage and becoming involved in plots to overthrow the throne. It is no wonder that if you made it to the age of 40, you were considered old.
Ms. Fremantle's historical research is very well done and her descriptive writing plants us firmly into the Tudor court. We become involved in the lives of Katherine and Mary and feel their anxiety about the times in which they lived. As with many historical fiction novels, there is a lot of narrative so that the reader can become engaged in the times but this does tend to slow the pace of the story. Ms. Fremantle does include a family tree and as well as a cast of characters, which are very helpful in keeping the relationships straight. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will enjoy getting to know the Grey sisters, as I did.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is Cathy's honest opinion.