The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Summary: New York Times Bestseller
The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen.
Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power grab into tragic martyrdom.
“Learn you to die,” was the advice Jane wrote to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and fall in love. But she is heir to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and then to her half sister, Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a Tudor son. When Katherine’s pregnancy betrays her secret marriage, she faces imprisonment in the Tower, only yards from her sister’s scaffold.
“Farewell, my sister,” writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary keeps family secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After seeing her sisters defy their queens, Mary is acutely aware of her own danger but determined to command her own life. What will happen when the last Tudor defies her ruthless and unforgiving Queen Elizabeth?
This book was the best novel I've picked up in a long time! Honestly, I had trouble putting it down. Even though at times I dreaded continuing on. Thats the trouble with reading Historical fiction. Sometimes you want to wish the best for the characters but you know what really happened. What I enjoyed most about this novel was it showed me a different side of Elizabeth the 1st. Up until this point I had a very romanticism picture of her. The Virgin Queen, leader of the England during the Golden Age.
Although this novel focuses on the lives of three of her lesser known cousins I feel like Gregory gives you a peak inside of Elizabeths Psyche by showcasing her treatment of those around her.
As the novel went on I had a feeling of "Oh yes she was Henry's daughter" that changeable nature that made his so dangerous seems to have molded his daughter.
The three sisters are all interesting in their own way. As the oldest of three girls its not surprising to me at all that these sisters would have such starkly different personalities. Jane, the oldest, lives and dies for her faith. Fueled by the desires and ambitions of the men around her. Katherine the middle child is the free spirit. Loving and beautiful, she appreciates court and the courtly ways. Her beauty and status would cause her downfall. Mary, the youngest, and most un noticed still suffers for her relationship to the Queen but not nearly has badly as her siblings, and other cousins for that matter.
This tales of unjust treatment and intense desires for wealth and power follow the Tudor dynasty and thats what makes this book series so interesting. History has never been more alive than when its being told by Philippa Gregory!