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4.2 out of 5 stars
Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 April 2017
Firstly, I must agree with another reviewer who commented that it is hard to believe this is the author's debut work: it is an accomplished piece of writing based on really intensive research and the result is an extremely balanced interpretation of the life of Jane Grey, Queen of England for less than a fortnight after the death of young Edward, heir to Henry the Eighth.

Jane's life, her family background, the political upheavals triggered by the early death of the young King, and the role of religion in the politics of the day, are all carefully examined and explained. Edward was a fanatical religious reformer, and in his devise for the succession, written as his health worsened, it is clear that his Catholic half sister Mary Tudor was absolutely a non-starter to take the Crown, and his other half sibling, Elizabeth, was still tainted by her mother's alleged adultery and subsequent execution: both girls had also been declared illegitimate. Young Jane, with her impeccable Protestantism, her clear line of descent from Henry's sister Mary, the late Duchess of Suffolk, seemed perfect and the husband chosen for her would wear the crown matrimonial: Guildford Dudley being the designated groom. Jane does not seem to have wanted or expected to be Queen, or to enter this arranged marriage.

Nicola Tallis has presented us with a clever girl whose sharp intelligence and disinclination to be manipulated, could in the long term have given England a queen to be reckoned with. Mary Tudor's Catholic faction, however, would not accept this fait accompli, and once Mary decided to marry Philip of Spain, poor Jane's fate was sealed, and the lives of her sisters made miserable. Once more, as with Arbella Stuart a generation later, to be born with royal blood, but not in direct line of succession, was more of a curse than a blessing.

Tallis is much more sympathetic than usual in her treatment of Jane's parents, particularly her mother Frances, who is generally portrayed as cruel and pushy, and the picture of family life is one of relative freedom for the daughters who were educated and cherished. Powerful men and powerful forces were instrumental in placing Jane in a situation to which she did not aspire and inevitably she became the sacrificial lamb, too risky to let live, too likely to be a focus for dissatisfaction in the new reign of Queen Mary Tudor.

Very, very good biography.
19 people found this helpful
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on 3 October 2017
I enjoyed this book enormously. Although Lady Jane Grey did not have a long life, the author manages to use enough material and to fill in the blanks to make this a good read. She presents an intelligent and strong-willed girl who was put in an impossible position by the ambitions of her father and others, and who didn't deserve her tragic fate, yet showed willpower and courage. The period itself is incredibly interesting - for the first time ever, all of the possible claimants to the English Crown were female (as opposed to all males drama of the Wars of the Roses era), plus you had the religious schism (protestant vs catholics), and it is brought to life by the author, along with the characters who are all flawed and yet talented in their own ways. An impressive history.
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on 26 February 2017
Victim, Martyr or rightful Monarch, these are the labels usually used to describe Lady Jane Grey, whose life and reign was tragically short. In this stunning debut, Historian Nicola Tallis examines the life of Jane and the world around her, using every contemporary source available. What emerges is an intelligent, astute, courageous and deeply religious young woman, tragically cut down in her prime.

Many of the myths surrounding Jane - such as her supposed suffering at the hands of her cruel parents and Queen Mary supposedly trying to spare her life are successfly challenged. And while not much evidence survives of Jane's upbringing, Tallis looks at what moulded Jane into the woman she became.

I found this book to be incredibly gripping and hard to put down. It flows so easily and completely draws you in. During chapters such as the death of Edward VI, the brief reign of Jane/Mary Tudor fighting for her crown and the later rebellion that sealed Jane's fate, the tension and drama and suspense unfolds perfectly right up until that final moment on the scaffold.

This book is more than a biography, it lists the top locations associated with Jane and what part survives from her lifetime. Perfect for those that enjoy visiting historical sites.

The Jane that emerges from this book, is the Jane that should be remembered, the strong-willed, determined, intelligent and heroic woman, who deserves to be admired and celebrated as one of history's remarkable figures.
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on 21 December 2017
Very well written historical drama about an event not well known. Jane could have changed the disastrous succession line in the person of Queen Mary and the Stuart’s.
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on 30 July 2017
Brilliant read especially as I knew so little about Lady Jane Grey's history. Amazing character.
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on 9 January 2018
Very good read with some bits not known before about Lady Jane and her relationship with other Tudors.
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on 30 April 2017
Excellent book,very informative but also easy to read.
3 people found this helpful
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on 3 June 2017
Seems well researched, debunking some of the assumptions that are traditionally made about Jane. It explains the background and the political manoeuvrings well.
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on 5 November 2017
Recomend, plenty of detail, documents taken from official records, well worth a read, good book I recommend this book. Jane grey
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on 20 May 2017
Enjoyed this book very much....
One person found this helpful
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