Title: The Queen's Rivals: A Novel of the Grey Sisters
Author: Brandy Purdy
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lush, deeply researched tale of the obscure Grey Sisters, I simply loved this novel--highly recommended for fans of Phillipa Gregory!
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey all have Tudor blood in their veins. Despite having no royal ambition whatsoever, the girls find themselves caught in a glittering, poisonous web of court intrigue as the people around them seek to use them for their own gain: Jane is strong-armed into a marriage, and later, a crown, that she does not want; all lively, bright Kate longs for is love and finds herself caught up in it, and Mary, a dwarf with a twisted spine and ungainly legs, just wants the ridicule to end.. But when "Bloody Mary", and later, Queen Elizabeth, comes to power, they realize that the boon of royal blood might not be so difficult to erase, nor forget..
What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing, which was breakneck--I couldn't put it down the entire time I was reading it
-Mary, the old woman who is in mourning for her beloved sisters and friends, narrating the tragic story of the Grey family's downfall, with nuance and black humor--I also really related to her, as even in her own family, she was an outcast
-Kate, the beautiful, vivacious one, so glorious and so in love with the idea of love that it kills her--almost literally--I really felt for her as well, for who doesn't want to be loved?
-Jane, the pious, scholarly eldest sister, forced into a marriage and crown she doesn't want--though I will admit at times her constant obsession with guarding herself against "the pleasures of the flesh" irked me
-I loved the way the family's ascent was documented through two queens' reigns: "Bloody Mary" and "The Virgin Queen's"
-Part of what makes historical fiction so appealing to me is that it is partially based in fact, and this book did not disappoint in the slightest--This was meticulously researched
-I liked, though Mary was old and grey, she got a bit of a happy ending, all was not lost with her, like with her beloved, beautiful sisters
-The girls' father
What could've been better:
-As stated above, though it was part of her personality, Jane's constant obsession to become a martyr for the Protestant faith grated on me a little bit--for the most part, she was unsympathetic
-The girls' mother
-Most of the royals surrounding the Greys, particularly Ned Seymour
I loved The Queen's Rivals--a great reminder of what waits for me in historical fiction if executed right! Next on deck: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco!