Sunday Salon: Review of Innocent Traitor
Up until now, I have not read a Tudor hist fic novel that includes Lady Jane Grey. From the books I’ve read, she’s only mentioned sparingly if hardly ever and she’s reduced to maybe a page or two. I’m glad I found a book that finally covers her life. (Even if it is a historical fiction novel.)
The child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she is merely a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, Jane Grey was born during the harrowingly turbulent period between Anne Boleyn’s beheading and the demise of Jane’s infamous great-uncle, King Henry VIII. With the premature passing of Jane’s adolescent cousin, and Henry’s successor, King Edward VI, comes a struggle for supremacy fueled by political machinations and lethal religious fervor. (Taken from Chapters website)
Innocent Traitor was excellent. I could not put the book down and was glad I took the time the read it. Since I knew very little about Jane Grey, it was as if I got to know her a bit more throughout this book. My heart went out to her as although she tried hard to please her parents (her mother in particular) but never received the proper love and support except only when it suited them. It was only too late when her parents actually came to fully appreciate and love her. I really felt for Jane especially in her early childhood years. Her mother was just plain awful and only really cared for Jane (if you could call it that) when it suited her purposes (i.e. mostly for political gain and ambition). There were times when I thought Jane had what it took to stand up to her mother, but she backed down whenever she tried. It got frustrating and I thought Jane was never going to have her own personality and she’ll just be a puppet for everyone. Yet past the midway point of the novel Jane does take a slight turn for the better and eventually stands up for herself (particularly against her husband). Towards the end, Jane becomes a much stronger woman and despite her circumstances, maintains her strength. I loved that. She became such a strong character that I loved her even more than I did in the beginning.
The plot of this novel was well written and very interesting. It follows Jane all throughout her life and it highlights moments of interest such as the marriage of Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour, and its’ failure. The addition of something like this is a little strange considering this should have been told all in Jane Grey’s point of view. I’m not really sure why this was added as it really had nothing to do with her (except maybe because she was around Katherine a lot around the time?) yet it was a small but well done way to take a break from the main plot and add in a mini story arc to it. I’d have to say the ending was one of the most dramatic. Jane stayed true to herself and that makes her all the more admirable. I absolutely hated the way everyone around her just started using her as a political pawn and her parents are just as bad as parents today who live through their small children and use them for their own gains. I really disliked her mother though. She was horrible! and she didn’t gain any sympathies from me at the end. Her emotions and “love” came way too late to even make a difference. I’m not sure what to say about Jane’s father. It looked like he was the “better” parent of the two, but his love was misguided and ambition just went in the way. It was sad to see that, as I thought he loved Jane more than her mother did.
I thought this was a great novel featuring Lady Jane Grey. It’s a tragic story but her strength is strong throughout the entire novel it’s hard not to admire her. This is definitely a worthy read for Tudor fans.
I give it a 8 out of 10.