Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle
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. (publisher)
Jane Grey is executed after reigning only for nine days and her family is left behind tainted as traitors. The remaining Grey sisters grew up in the court under the suspicious eyes of the queen(s) but their mother’s confidante, Levina, looks after them.
The story is told by 3 people: Katherine Grey, Mary Grey and court painter Levina Teerlinc and it worked well for this book.
My favourite was definitely Mary and I really wished it could have ended happily for her. Being crook backed definitely didn’t make things easy for her and people can be so cruel. And yet she remained kind and gentle despite everything. Her sister’s death had deep impact on her and taught how dangerous it can be to have royal blood in your veins.
Katherine was the type that thinks with her heart and not with her head, and it can be dangerous when you’re so close to the throne. She was little shallow and empty headed and I wished she would have listened Mary’s warnings. Her chapters were my least favourite and I think the weakest link in the book.
I really liked how the sisters’ mother Frances Grey was portrayed. She was shown as caring and loving mother who deeply mourned her daughter and it was nice to see her friendship with Levina who was “just” a court painter and not noble born.
This was truly enjoyable book and I look forward reading The Queen’s Gambit which I already own.
Published: Simon & Schuster (2014)