Friday, 24 April 2009

apologies for Tamise

I'm so sorry Tamise, only just picked up your message - re Leanda de Lisle's book 'The Sisters who would be Queen'. I've missed the question deadline, but hope this makes up for it in some way.

I read so many history books, with the Tudor period being amongst my favourites, and I've been thnking of expanding Piers' blog to include reviews of any history books. I thoroughly enjoyed Leanda de Lisle's books on the Grey sisters. She wrote about Jane Grey from the point of view of Jane being the Protestant queen who would preserve the 'true religion' - and not, as she rightly criticised past bios as the child-victim pawn of others. Jane was manipulated into a position by Northumberland to satisfy his own ambition, but Jane, and many others, for example Cranmer, believed it her duty to God to accept the crown.

I knew a little of the history of the other Grey sisters - Katherine and Mary. I was riveted by de Lisle's research into Katherine's marriage and her fate, and likewise with Mary's life. I have read many times of the suffering of Elizabeth during her sister's reign, and yet Elizabeth meted out the very same treatment to her Grey cousins. The book brought home the predicament Elizabeth faced - if she did not marry and beget an heir, she faced a very real threat from her Grey cousins - particularly Katherine, who as a protestant had made a good match - and a love match at that - and produced 2 male heirs. Katherine's fate proved tragic. I was left hoping that Mary was able to find some sort of happiness when she was relased from prison to her small household.

A riveting read that shows the tragedy of all three Grey sisters.