October 10, 2013

Review - A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

I first read Alison Weir many years ago when I read her elegantly wonderful biography of Eleanor of Acquitaine. Her scholarship in English history is well respected and forms a firm foundation for her story telling skills. This is her fourth historical novel and it is the story of two girls who were close to the English throne, Kate Plantagenet, base born daughter of Richard III, in the 1480s and Lady Katherine Grey, cousin to Elizabeth I and sister of the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey, who was briefly put on the throne by Protestant sympathizers in the 1550s, prior to Mary I's ascension to the throne. At first I was a little confused as to who was who as the narrative shifts between the two girls and I needed to keep referring to the extensive family trees given at the front of the book. But fairly quickly, the two stories took shape, each Kate's voice became distinctive and the feeling of being right beside them developed. Period detail is excellent (especially the sumptuous clothes and the streetscenes) and her re-take on the mystery of the Princes in the tower, which exerts fascination to both Kates, is excellently imagined and described. Both girls love deeply but their fates are determined by their family connections and their dangerous closeness to the throne. Thoroughly recommended. Wendy

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