Lady Jane Grey, the nine-day queen – was she a victim of her ruthless, scheming parents, or was she a victim of circumstance, being born much too close to the throne? How do you decide between the wishes of the dead king, or the one now dying?

After the unexpected death of Edward VI, England’s crown was to have gone first to elder sister Mary, and then to Elizabeth. Simple, right? Not. Problem was, not very many folks wanted Catholic Mary on England’s throne, plus Edward changed the order of succession before his death, naming the Lady Jane Grey as his heir.

OK, I think most historical fiction buffs have read enough about the Tudors to know the basics, as well as the myths, but if you don’t I am not going to spoil it for you by going into greater story detail. Higginbotham tells the story via alternating first person point of views of Jane Dudley (mother of Guildford Dudley) and Francis Grey (Jane’s mother). I’m generally not fond of alternating POVs and admit to struggling with this at first until I got a handle on the different voices, but in the end I thought it worked very well.

Higginbotham has done an excellent job of wading through those myths and half-truths, presenting a balanced, well-rounded case for what might really have happened, all lightly seasoned here and there with Higginbotham’s sense of humor (watch out for her April Fools’ Day blog posts). 4.5/5 stars.

Thanks to Sourcebooks and Net Galley for the opportunity to read an early copy.