Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis Book Review

A significant retelling of the often-misunderstood tale of Lady Jane Grey’s journey through her trial and execution―recalling the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which she became involuntarily tangled, and which ultimately led to a catastrophic conclusion.

“Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same.” These were the heartbreaking words of a seventeen-year-old girl, Lady Jane Grey, as she stood on the scaffold awaiting death on a cold February morning in 1554. Minutes later her head was struck from her body with a single stroke of a heavy axe. Her death for high treason sent shockwaves through the Tudor world, and served as a gruesome reminder to all who aspired to a crown that the axe could fall at any time.

Jane is known to history as “the Nine Days Queen,” but her reign lasted, in fact, for thirteen days. The human and emotional aspects of her story have often been ignored, although she is remembered as one of the Tudor Era’s most tragic victims. While this is doubtlessly true, it is only part of the complex jigsaw of Jane’s story. She was a remarkable individual with a charismatic personality who earned the admiration and affection of many of those who knew her. All were impressed by her wit, passion, intelligence, and determined spirit. Furthermore, the recent trend of trying to highlight her achievements and her religious faith has, in fact, further obscured the real Jane, a young religious radical who saw herself as an advocate of the reformed faith―Protestantism―and ultimately became a martyr for it.

Crown of Blood is an important and significant retelling of an often-misunderstood tale: set at the time of Jane’s downfall and following her journey through to her trial and execution, each chapter moves between the past and the “present,” using a rich abundance of primary source material (some of which has never been published) in order to paint a vivid picture of Jane’s short and turbulent life. This dramatic narrative traces the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which Jane became involuntarily tangled―and which ultimately led to a shocking and catastrophic conclusion. 16 pages of colour illustrations.

Lady Jane Grey has gone down history as the girl who stole the crown from the rightful heiress, the future Queen Mary I and her story continues to fascinate us. As the great-granddaughter of Henry VII she had a claim to the throne, and by Edward VI’s device for the succession she was appointed his heiress over her mother (who was alive at the time) and over the King’s two half-sisters, who were both declared bastard (and most inconveniently one was also a Catholic). Lady Jane herself protested the circumstances, declaring “The crown is not my right, and pleaseth me not. The Lady Mary is the rightful heir.” Lady Jane was an incredibly intelligent and well-educated woman, who quite possibly was very suited for Queenship, but as she said she was not the rightful heir.

Nicola Tallis’ first book takes us on a new adventure through Lady Jane Grey’s short but whirlwind life. Her writing style is absolutely brilliant, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down at all. This is an amazing, comprehensive look at Lady Jane’s life and death and I cannot wait to see what else Nicola Tallis has in store for us in the future.

Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey is available now in the UK and the US.

About Moniek Bloks 2666 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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