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Raven Queen Paperback – 12 Feb 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd (12 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0746078803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0746078808
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 493,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"This stunning and lyrical tale will hold readers captive and haunt them long after the last page has been turned."
-- Becky Stradwick, Borders Bookshop

From the Back Cover

I have lived the life of a princess since the day I was born. But it did not bring me what I wanted. I am still trapped.

My beloved Ned speaks of love, freedom, a future. To walk with him in the forest, our raven soaring above us, is my only joy. But my father plans that I shall be betrothed to the King and I am afraid. Queens of England have a habit of dying. I have no desire to take the throne, no wish to find myself in the Tower of London.

Wife, Queen - I fear it will bring me to my knees.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anna Jenkins on 16 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
Despite being a novel aimed at younger readers, as an adult I found this a compelling and moving tragedy. As the jacket blurb says, Lady Jane Grey, the nine-day queen is "all too often remembered as just a line in a history book," but this thought-provoking, romantic story of the (historically accurate) 16 year old protestant princess Jane and her (fictional) catholic sweetheart Ned will make you reassess all the preconceived notions you had about historical figures and make you wonder about the real human cost of history. Jane feels trapped by her family and the upper-class society she has been born into, whilst woodsman Ned represents in many ways the freedom that the young princess craves so much. The descriptions of tensions and conflicts between different groups in the book - religions, families - give the reader much pause for thought on the topics of acceptance and understanding (relevant as much today as it was in the blood-thirsty Tudor period). The imagery that runs through the novel is worthy of note and -coupled with Jane's eloquent, self-assured voice- creates a poetic and delicate atmosphere. It must be difficult for an author to find a suitable ending for a story that everyone already knows, but the ending to Raven Queen will overwhelm you. This is a truly devastating, heart wrenching dramatic finale that will have even the most hardened reader in floods of tears. A fantastic novel for young and old alike - even those that do not see themselves as readers of teenage/romantic/historical fiction!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By greenwise design on 23 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great read of historical fiction, bringing alive a tragic moment in the history of the Nine Day english Queen...Lady Jane Grey. I never knew much about it before.

So with sparse but effective writing, this story cuts to the heart and stimulates interest in history, as well as providing a spiritual bid for freedom in all young people....

An easy read for adults and also kids (with uninhibited, accurately grisly detail of the Tower of London thankfully included!), this is a first class book, accessible through the first person accounts of only 2 characters, one real and one fiction.
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Format: Paperback
This is the story of Lady Jane Grey, who eventually became queen of Tudor England for nine, brief days, and was executed for her pains. It is a tragic footnote of history which Pauline Francis has gone some way towards fleshing out in this novel for teenagers. She tells the story in the alternating words of Ned, a fictional Catholic boy who comes to work on the Grey's estate when Jane is still living at home, and Jane herself. Francis invents a doomed love affair between Ned and Jane to give the story extra interest for the reader.

Sadly I don't think it worked very well at all. The account is very choppy because of the narrative style and there are lots of gaps where normally, description would give you a clear sense of place and time historically. Here there is nothing and the characters words tend to hang in a kind of featureless fog, making it very difficult to imagine them as real people. As such their love affair also becomes unrealistic as you cannot really understand why they would ever be together, or indeed truly get any chance to spend time together, particularly if you know anything at all about the realities of Lady Jane's life.

Because of these big narrative gaps Francis has to make Jane and Ned the mouthpiece for a lot of what was going on at the time, which also makes them seem rather far fetched and unreal characters, which is a shame as the story could have been much more vivid and interesting.

I think you have to know a reasonable amount about this period in history to make this book work at all, otherwise it has no real depth or context.

I know it is written for the children's book market, and there is a growing market for this fictionalisation of history amongst children, particularly in school libraries, which is where I work.
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Format: Paperback
I think that the description sums up the book in one paragraph very well and I especially love the part about Lady Jane Grey being 'all too often remembered as just a line in a history book.' Although, I knew quite a bit about Jane from mentions in other Tudor historical fiction books that I have read, this book really brought her character and the way she felt to life and made you sympathise more with her tragic story because she is like a real person rather than a long dead historical figure. I think that the sample of her writing from in the book on the blurb shows is very strong and makes you want to read more about what happened to her and discover more than just facts about her life.

The book is told from two points of view: Ned (Jane's secret lover) and Jane. This was a very interesting way of portraying the story and gave it more depth.
Ned is a young man who is condemned to be hung when he steals a loaf of bread and an apple after escaping from prison (he was imprisoned with his father after they were caught attending a Catholic mass.) He and Jane meet when she saves him from being hanged when she rides past the gallows with her maidservant Ellie and bribes the hangmen with money. Despite the danger of the anger of her father who is in London at that point and Ellie's protestations, Jane offers Ned work on her father's estate as a woodsmen. They secretly meet up and find comfort in their forbidden romance together that risks all, not only because of social classes but because Jane is a Protestant and Ned is a Catholic. Ned also shows Jane a glimpse of the freedom from her family, religious argument and the arrangements that she is forced into.
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