Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: "Three Maids for a Crown" by Ella March Chase

From Goodreads:  In the second novel from Ella March Chase, we meet sixteen-year-old Jane Grey, a quiet and obedient young lady destined to become the shortest reigning English monarch. Her beautiful middle sister Katherine Grey charms all the right people--until loyalties shift. And finally Lady Mary Grey, a dwarf with a twisted spine whose goal is simply to protect people she loves--but at a terrible cost.

In an age in which begetting sons was all that mattered and queens rose and fell on the sex of their child, these three girls with royal Tudor blood lived under the dangerous whims of parents with a passion for gambling. The stakes they would wager: their daughters' lives against rampant ambition.

My Thoughts: If you are looking for a book about Lady Jane Grey's life, this may not be the one for you.  Jane is featured in the story but is dead before the story is half over.  I honestly expected there to be more about her and her interaction with her sisters and family but Lady/Queen Jane is more of minor character in the book.  This story is really about how the ambitions of the Grey sisters' parents affected the lives of Katherine and Mary Grey during the reigns of Queens Mary and Elizabeth.  The book was basically one giant family drama; cousins pitted against each other, crazy parents and sisters who didn't always get along.  It was also extremely sad; all of the sisters had really difficult lives and the whole time I felt so incredibly bad for the youngest sister, Mary.  She seemed to be the sister with the most common sense and yet everyone, her sisters included, treated her so badly.  She actually was my favorite character; despite her disability, she was so tough and smart and I just really admired her tenacity.  I was really surprised by how Queen Elizabeth was portrayed in this book.  Usually she is a sympathetic character but the author made her into a hateful witch.  I don't know if this is accurate or not but it was something I hadn't seen before.

 It was hard for me to imagine that these sisters really lived and dealt with some of the hardships that were showcased in the story.  I can't begin to think how difficult their lives must have been just because they were related to the Tudors and I really tried to just keep telling myself that it was fiction.  The story moved pretty well but was definitely depressing.  For those of you interested in historical fiction set in Tudor England and are interested in a different take on the family, you should like this book but don't expect it to be on par with Alison Weir's Innocent Traitor. 3 stars.

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