Sunday, 23 September 2012

Three Maids For A Crown

I was very impressed with The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase and soon read her second Tudor novel Three Maids For A Crown. It tells the often ignored story of the three Grey sisters - Jane, Katherine and Mary. They are all pawns in plans to take the throne of England and as a result of their parents' ambition, their lives are at stake.

The chapters shift from sister to sister, with each Grey girl telling her view of the story. This is a very effective way of story-tellling, as we see how each one is in danger without them realising it themselves.

Henry VIII's only son, the sickly Edward VI is on the throne and John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland hatches a plan with the Grey girls' parents to use their Tudor blood to their advantage.

Fifteen year old Jane is married off to Guilford Dudley and suddenly and unexpectedly finds herself Queen of England when Edward's suspicious death is announced. Of course, her reign only lasts for nine days as Mary Tudor's claim is successful and she is forced to behead her cousin.

Meanwhile Kat is married to Henry Herbert and they are a young couple wildly in love. However, he abandons her once Mary is Queen. Mary, a dwarf with a twisted spine, sees her sisters in danger and does all she can to help them and protect them,but is often pushed away and ignored. 

The novel follows the sisters' childhood relationships with Mary Tudor and how Kat and Mary become ladies in waiting to the woman who ordered their sisters' death,finally find love and have to deal with the punishments. At times very sad, this book shows the brutality of the Tudor court and how nobody could be fully trusted.

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