Sunday, May 23, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
She was made heir to the English throne by King Edward VI, a fellow Protestant keen on maintaining England's newly established religion. In doing so he disinherited his sisters, the Lady Mary and the Lady Elizabeth, who had stronger claims to the throne than the Lady Jane.
Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England for 9 days, the shortest in English history. She relinquished the crown in favour of the Lady Mary, but was later tried as a traitor and beheaded for treason on Tower Green. She was 16 years old at her death.
Alison Weir tells this story from the points of view of the Lady Jane and those around her who would prove to have the greatest influence on her life. Weir presents the Lady Jane as a shy, unloved eldest daughter of conniving parents who used her as a pawn to secure their own interests, but at the same time was a highly-educated and devoted Protestant revolutionary, determined to do and suffer all that was necessary for her faith, no matter how unfair and misguided that may have seemed both then and now.
Not surprisingly it is easy to feel warmth towards and pity for the Lady Jane, and even though it is known how the story will end, the reader cannot help but harbor a secret hope that the author will, in the spirit of true artistic licence, provide the character with a far happier ending.
It is clear from this book that Weir is a historian, as she writes as one, and Innocent Traitor has an evident feel of academia to it. At times this made the story feel a bit "stiff", but as a whole, Alison Weir has been able to create a depth to her characters that either makes you love them or hate them, and has re-told a story that was and remains in every way a tragedy.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Life at the royal court was one spent constantly on the move and at war. Henry's Kingdom was vast, encompassing not only England but also a large portion of mainland Europe. When Henry wasnt fighting off invaders, he was quelling internal rebellions, one of which was made by his sons at the instigation of and with support from Eleanor. Henry was furious and had Eleanor imprisoned until his death in 1189, at which point her favourite son, Richard, took the throne and released her.
Not content to live out the rest of her life in quiet retirement, Eleanor threw herself back into the role of Duchess of Aquitaine until her death at aged 82 years in 1204.
Alison Weir has managed to put together an astounding scholarly account of the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, as well as that of her husbands and sons. Eleanor lived during a time when women were regarded as little more than the property of their husbands, so there isnt as much information about her as there is about her male relatives, a fact pressed by the author.
However, Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life provides a fascinating insight into what life would have been like for a Medieval woman of Eleanor's standing. Alison Weir writes beautifully, and has an amazing ability to make fact feel like fiction, so her non-fiction work is easier to follow and far more interesting for the reader than that of many of her associates.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Congratulations, Mari! Please email me with your postal address and I will have the book in the post to you as soon as possible.
Just a small reminder that when you have finished reading the book yourself, please dont forget to continue the goodwill by hosting another giveaway for the book. Thank you!
Thanks to all who participated in the draw; I really appreciate the time you took to visit my blog. I hope to hold another giveaway in the very near future, so keep an eye out!