Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: "Sisters of Treason" by Elizabeth Fremantle

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. 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.

My Thoughts:  I am really enthralled by the Grey sisters and Sisters of Treason is now one of my favorite books about them.  It was so well-written and kept my interest from beginning to end.  It very quickly pulled me out of my reading slump!  This book focused on Catherine and Mary in the aftermath of their sister, Jane's, execution and I loved the way the author portrayed both sisters.  Actually, I loved everything about this book.  Catherine and Mary were well-developed characters and the author really made me care about them.  Mary was definitely my favorite.  I really wish more was known about Mary Grey because it seems like she lived a really interesting life.

Ms. Fremantle portrays Frances Grey as a loving mother who had a good relationship with her daughters and I thought it was a nice change of pace.  Frances is usually vilified and I liked imagining her in a more positive light.  I had a really hard time with Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth because neither one of them were very nice people and they treated the Grey sisters so badly.  It's easy to understand why they behaved that way but jeez, I wanted to smack them at times.

Levina made this story so unique.  I liked that she was part of the story as a friend and guardian to the Grey girls but she also got to have her own story as well.  The reader sees a lot of the story through her eyes and I liked the perspective she brought to the story.  Because she was a painter, it was like she could see things about people that others couldn't and she had a front row seat to daily court life so she seemed to always be in the know.

Overall, this was a great portrayal of the Grey sisters' lives.  Fremantle's version of events made for a wonderful story and thanks to her author's note, it's obvious that she did a lot of research.  If you have even a smidge of interest in this period in history, you should definitely read this book.  4 stars.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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