Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review: Nine Days a Queen

Rinaldi, Ann. Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey. New York: Harper Collins, 2005.

Jane is mistreated by her parents. Beaten when she doesn't obey. They have an agenda: they want to see Jane married to the King's son. The power and influence of their family will then be secure. Jane becomes a mere pawn in a game of power. She tries to assert herself, but fails. Through the ill-guided endeavours of her power-hungry family, Jane looses her head (literally).

What I thought: If you've ever seen the 1986 film Lady Jane, Rinaldi's superbly researched account of Jane Grey's life will set you straight. The assumption that everyone loves a romance must explain the sentimentality of the film. Jane was married to Guildford Dudley against her will. She found him repulsive. In the movie, they eventually fall in love. In reality, they become friends only under threat of imminent death. I like a romance as much as the next girl, but in matters of history I prefer the facts. Rinaldi assures readers, "I have fictionalized some events for the sake of the story, and interpreted others to tighten my plot, but otherwise, no amount of invention or creativity could add to this incredible story" (Author's Note).

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