Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle


From the author of Queen’s Gambit, which People magazine called, “A must-read for Philippa Gregory fans,” a gripping historical novel about two sisters who tread as dangerously close to the crown as their tragic sister, Lady Jane Grey, executed after just nine days on the throne.

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Freemantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for.

From “a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction,” (PeopleSisters of Treason brings to vivid life the perilous and romantic lives of two little known young women who played a major role in the complex politics of their day.

My Review:

“Sisters of Treason” by Elizabeth Fremantle was an excellent read! I was introduced to this author while reading “The Queen’s Gambit” for a blog tour, so when I saw that she had a new novel out, I was excited to read it, and I definitely was not disappointed! I’ve read a couple of books about Jane Grey and her short reign, and this novel was definitely one of the better ones. I like that it focuses more on her sisters lives, rather than on her life. I’ve read about her life several times, so it was nice to learn more about the people who surrounded her, and who lived much longer than Jane did. I also really enjoyed reading from Levina’s perspective. It’s always nice to read the perspective of a commoner when reading a book about nobility. It helps me to see things as I probably would have viewed them if I had been there.

Something that was talked about more in depth in this novel than in others was the relationship between Jane’s sister Katherine and Juno (Jane) Seymour. I never would have thought about their relationship extending beyond that of friendship, but experimentation happens occasionally now between friends who are close, so who’s to say it didn’t happen a few hundred years ago as well? I loved Katherine’s personality. She’s so sweet and seems to naïve, you just want to protect her and you want more than anything for her to be happy.

The Grey girls had so little happiness in their lives. It definitely shows Elizabeth and cold-hearted and somewhat evil. The Grey girls tried to reach for happiness, but Elizabeth was always there to thwart them. I have never really liked Elizabeth or enjoyed reading about her, and the reason is because of how she is portrayed in novels like this, she’s a selfish person, who wants no one around her to be happy, because she herself is unhappy. This book definitely makes me wish that the Grey girls could have somehow found more happiness in their lives.

I definitely recommend this novel to historical fiction lovers, especially those who love anything to do with the Tudors! 

I give this novel a FIVE out of FIVE stars!


“An enthralling story of love and tyranny, Sisters of Treason brings the Tudor Courts to life again, in all their romance and horror.” (Leanda de Lisle, author of Tudor: The Family Story)

“Passionate, compassionate, intricate, sharp, clever and utterly compelling.” (M.C Scott, author of Rome: The Art of War)

About the Author

Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Queen's Gambit and has contributed to Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair and The Sunday Times among other publications. She lives in London, England.

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