Sisters of Treason
Sisters of Treason – a historical romance set in Queen Elizabeth the First’s reign about the two surviving sisters, Katherine and Mary, of the Nine Days Queen, Jane Grey – is a book that crept up on me until I couldn’t put it down and found myself sneaking in chapters every spare second I got!
The book is told from three points of view – Katherine Grey is headstrong and romantic, determined to distract herself from the eggshells she walks on in court with thoughts of marrying Harry Herbert, a nobleman she loves. As the book progresses she realises that she is in fact in love with Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and agrees to a secret marriage without Elizabeth I’s permission. As Katherine finds herself in the centre of a plot to have her named as Queen, she is trapped in the Tower of London wear she bears two sons. As they are both noble and have a stronger tie to the crown than even Elizabeth, Katherine and Hertford find themselves in great danger.
Lady Mary Grey is nine years old at the start of the novel and though she has a crooked back and is considered inferior by others in the court, Mary is resourceful and insightful, and yearns for her own romantic marriage one day. She grows into a talented and beautiful young woman, navigating the court and her sister’s perilous escapades. Mary also finds a good, kind man to marry, but does so without Elizabeth’s permission and finds her happy ending snatched away. However, she survives and finally gets to meet her young nephews, Katherine’s sons.
Finally, Levina Teerlinc is the court painter and she sees everything that goes on in the nest of vipers that is both Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I’s court. In charge of keeping an eye on Katherine and Mary, Levina navigates the courts and tries to steer the girls away from ruin. Levina tries to tread carefully around Mary Tudor’s venomous reign and the hot-headed and mistrustful Elizabeth while keeping herself, the girls and her husband out of the Tower.
Unfortunately, this book doesn’t have the happiest of endings; and being that it is a very well-researched historical novel, a quick Wikipedia ruined the ending for me! However, as so little is known about Levina Teerlinc, the author Elizabeth Fremantle was able to take some artistic license, creating a well-rounded and compelling character that I came to quite adore. I also loved Mary, she is one of the best characters and I like how neither girl aspire to rule England, instead wanting a quiet life and love.
I didn’t know much about the Grey sisters, outside of Jane, before reading Sisters of Treason, but I have come to love them and wish their lives weren’t so tragic. I thoroughly enjoyed this book – if you like Tudor history and historical romance then pre-order your copy of this soon-to-be-released novel now!