Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Wier

“We had none of us girls been born to inherit a crown, and yet it has overshadowed us all our lives— and blighted them. I thought once that it would be a wonderful thing to be a queen, to wield power and wear the coveted diadem— but I know differently now. Tangling with princes rarely brought anyone anything but ill-fortune and grief.” – Alison Weir, A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower

A Dangerous Inheritance is a fascinating story told from the alternating points of view of Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet. With a time difference of less than 100 years between them; Katherine in the year 1553 and Kate in 1483, these two young royals lives become connected when they try to investigate the mystery of the two miss Princes in the Tower; bothers Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.

The novel starts with Katherine Grey just receiving word that her sister Lady Jane Grey, a Queen for only nine days had just been executed. 
In 1553, Katherine at age 12 and Jane, age 16 were married in a double ceremony. Katherine married Henry Herbert and Jane married Guildford Dudley; men that their parents Lady Frances Brandon and Henry Grey chose hoping that the marriages would prove to be advantageous for the whole family. It was not. A plot developed for Jane to take over the throne and become Queen, and she was…for nine short days until Mary takes over the throne and Jane was imprisoned. Both Katherine and Jane become unwilling pawns caught up in the schemes of their parents who were vying for power and the throne.  Their lives were not their own, decisions were made for them, yet they were the ones who paid a high price for those decisions.

As for Kate Plantagenet, she is the illegitimate daughter of King Richard III. Kate begins to hear rumors swirling around about her father being involved in the disappearance of the two Princes in the Tower. She has great faith in her father and believes he had nothing to do with their disappearances.  She despises hearing these negative this against King Richard III and because of this she sets out trying to uncover what really happened.  

This is the first novel I have read from Alison Weir, and I hope it will not be my last. The novel was well written and pretty easy to follow along with everything.  The characters and their story are intriguing and a bit sad at the same time, especially since they were real people. The mystery with the princes adds a nice layer of suspense and I found myself not wanting to stop until I found out what happened. Having said that though, I think the novel would have been just as good without the mystery of the two princes.  But it was an interesting and I think effective way to intertwine these two young women from different time periods.  It was a long read, but an entertaining and enjoyable one nevertheless.

Rating: 3½ out of 5

** I received this ARC from Random House/Ballantine Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. Thank you.** 


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