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Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey…

Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey (2007)

by Alison Weir

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2,101864,658 (3.88)125
Recently added byrena75, nbyars, melloc, Jeslieness
  1. 00
    Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books are about the 9 day reign of Lady Jane Grey.
  2. 00
    Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman (lanaing)
  3. 00
    A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell (shamicnic)
    shamicnic: This is another historical fiction piece that readers may enjoy.
  4. 22
    The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (shamicnic)
    shamicnic: This historical fiction book preceeds "Innocent Traitor" by telling the story of Anne Boleyn from the intriguing point of view of her sister, Mary Boleyn.

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Spoilers ahead, because this is an historical novel about a major figure, and I assume most people know how it ends already.

This is the story of Lady Jane Grey, the great-niece of Henry VIII, and cousin to King Edward VI, and his sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Raised a devout Protestant when England and Europe as a whole were caught up in the religious and political struggle of the Reformation, she became a pawn for those, including her own parents, who wanted to advance both their own power and England's commitment to Protestantism. Years of scheming to marry her to her cousin Edward come to nothing, and when Edward, at fifteen, is dying, he is induced to sign a new will, making Lady Jane his heir in place of his sister, the Catholic Mary.
Allison Weir has written many historical biographies, and she knows the Tudor era and their lives intimately. She has told this story in multiple voices, Jane's of course, but also her mother, her nurse Mrs. Ellen, Queen Catherine Parr, John Dudley the Duke of Northumberland, and others, including even the Executioner at the end of her life. In an excellent production decision, although Stina Nielsen is listed as narrator, each character is read by a different actor (with admittedly some doubling up on minor characters.) This keeps each first-person narrative distinct, and makes listening to this complex story easier to follow.

The story begins with Jane's birth, and her parents' bitter disappointment that she is not a boy. This disappointment is compounded over the years, when Jane is followed by two more girls, Catherine and Mary. We follow, in several voices, Jane's upbringing, with her loving nurse, Mrs. Ellen, doing all that she can to soften the harshness of her mother, while Jane receives an education fit for a princess--literally. Her education is modeled on that of the King's daughters, and she studies Latin, Greek, philosophy, and theology, along with more typically feminine accomplishments of the age such as dancing, music, and needlework. When she is just seven, she is introduced to Court, and becomes a favorite of King Henry and Queen Catherine Parr, as well as becoming acquainted with his daughters, the Lady Mary and the Lady Elizabeth.

When King Henry dies and Edward becomes King, her parents begin plotting in earnest to marry her to her young cousin. She is fostered with Queen Catherine, who soon marries the man who had been courting her when Henry displaced him, Thomas Seymour, the Lord High Admiral. This is the happiest year of Jane's life, loved, indulged, and praised, rather than constantly corrected and punished for real or imaginary faults.

Then Thomas Seymour's plotting goes awry, John Dudley's plotting to replace Thomas's elder brother Somerset as Lord Protector succeeds, and Catherine dies giving birth to a daughter. Jane's life falls apart again. This is wear the spiral that ends in her nine-day reign as Queen truly begins.

Jane's story is, unavoidably, a tragedy, but Weir tells in masterfully, making Jane a real person worth caring about, even with all her faults. (During her early teen years, she really is a bit of a self-righteous prig.) We see her intelligence, her courage, her commitment to do the right thing as best she sees it, and her loyalty to those who have given her any reason at all to think well of them.

This is a very good book, and a very good performance of it.


I borrowed this book from a friend. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
This is being chucked in the DNF pile. Thankfully Leanda de Lisle's non-fiction [b:The Sisters Who Would Be Queen|3980321|The Sisters Who Would Be Queen|Leanda de Lisle|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328034544s/3980321.jpg|4026101] has spoiled me for this book! I'm only a few chapters in, and I can't take anymore Frances-bashing and hearing how disappointed they are Jane was a girl. It also makes me suspect what other material in the book she has manipulated. I think I'm going to try Higginbotham's book, [b:Her Highness, the Traitor|10911851|Her Highness, the Traitor|Susan Higginbotham|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1323376635s/10911851.jpg|15828075] instead. From what I've seen, that should be much better!
  catzkc | Mar 23, 2018 |
Historical fiction is my guilty pleasure - this one does not disappoint. ( )
  AriadneAranea | Jan 13, 2018 |
audio book ( )
  Jawin | Dec 22, 2017 |
I love Alison Weir, though I haven't read nearly as many of her books as I would have liked to.

I actually started reading this book last year, and didn't finish it before I had to return it to the library. This time, I started again from the beginning & finished in just a few days.

This is the story of Lady Jane Grey, the very young, naive queen of just 9 days. Forced to live her entire life under the rule of manulative, even abusive, parents, she ended up marrying a man she didn't love (or even like) and worse yet, convinced to become Queen of England.

The book is told in multiple voices (a story telling device I do not like). Most of the book, this is fine, but I had issues in the beginning, with Jane's voice being very adult, even when she was only a few years old. Yes, she was supposedly very mature as a child, but it was hard to like her as a child when she spoke with such an adult voice.

The book is pretty factual - there are a few interesting speculations in the book that Weir concludes, but for the most part, this is pretty true historical fiction & Weir takes on a new genre well (this is her first historical fiction novel).

Jane's story is especially compelling at the end - even though I know how her tragic tale will end, you still hope that Queen Mary will pardon her on the same. ( )
  anastaciaknits | Oct 29, 2016 |
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'If my faults deserve punishment, my youth at least, and my imprudence, were worthy of excuse. God and posterity will show me more favour.

Written by Lady Jane Grey in the Tower of London,
February 1554
This book
is dedicated to
my dear mother
and to Jim
who has been a father to me.

It is also dedicated
to Samuel Marston
to mark his first birthday.
First words
It is over.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345495349, Paperback)

I am now a condemned traitor . . . I am to die when I have hardly begun to live.

Historical expertise marries page-turning fiction in Alison Weir’s enthralling debut novel, breathing new life into one of the most significant and tumultuous periods of the English monarchy. It is the story of Lady Jane Grey–“the Nine Days’ Queen”–a fifteen-year-old girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of the religious and civil unrest that nearly toppled the fabled House of Tudor during the sixteenth century.

The child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she is merely a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, Jane Grey was born during the harrowingly turbulent period between Anne Boleyn’s beheading and the demise of Jane’s infamous great-uncle, King Henry VIII. With the premature passing of Jane’s adolescent cousin, and Henry’s successor, King Edward VI, comes a struggle for supremacy fueled by political machinations and lethal religious fervor.

Unabashedly honest and exceptionally intelligent, Jane possesses a sound strength of character beyond her years that equips her to weather the vicious storm. And though she has no ambitions to rule, preferring to immerse herself in books and religious studies, she is forced to accept the crown, and by so doing sets off a firestorm of intrigue, betrayal, and tragedy.

Alison Weir uses her unmatched skills as a historian to enliven the many dynamic characters of this majestic drama. Along with Lady Jane Grey, Weir vividly renders her devious parents; her much-loved nanny; the benevolent Queen Katherine Parr; Jane’s ambitious cousins; the Catholic “Bloody” Mary, who will stop at nothing to seize the throne; and the protestant and future queen Elizabeth. Readers venture inside royal drawing rooms and bedchambers to witness the power-grabbing that swirls around Lady Jane Grey from the day of her birth to her unbearably poignant death. Innocent Traitor paints a complete and compelling portrait of this captivating young woman, a faithful servant of God whose short reign and brief life would make her a legend.

“An impressive debut. Weir shows skill at plotting and maintaining tension, and she is clearly going to be a major player in the . . . historical fiction game.”
–The Independent

“Alison Weir is one of our greatest popular historians. In her first work of fiction . . . Weir manages her heroine’s voice brilliantly, respecting the past’s distance while conjuring a dignified and fiercely modern spirit.”
–London Daily Mail

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A fictional portrait of Lady Jane Grey, the great-niece of Henry VIII, follows her turbulent life against the backdrop of Tudor power politics and religious upheaval, from her youth, to her nine-day reign as Queen of England, to its tragic aftermath.

» see all 6 descriptions

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