This story follows the life of Katherine Grey and her distant relative Kate Plantagenet. A series of militaristic and royally led coups bring Lady Jane Grey and her younger sister Katherine Grey to London where Jane becomes the 9 day Queen, only to be executed soon after for unlawfully accepting the crown. Katherine's world crumbles to pieces when she is left in London to live in the court of her onerous cousin, Queen Elizabeth I who considers her a threat. Katherine must undergo a slew of painful lessons that teach her how to maneuver in a court where she is not much trusted or loved.
Katherine Grey's kinswoman, Kate Plantagenet who lived nearly a century before her also lived a life of tumult. Being the bastard daughter of Richard III who was the last Plantagenet, Kate always had her work cut out for her. Whispered about by society, forbidden to marry the man she loves because of her illegitimate roots, Kate feels shut out. When she travels to London for her father's coronation, her world crumbles similarly to Katherine Grey's. Kate has heard rumors about her father's involvement in getting rid of her cousins, Princes who are the rightful heirs to the thrown, but she does not believe her father could ever be so brutal. Kate's curiosity takes her on a quest that leads to the foreboding Tower of London, the last place her cousins were thought to have been. These stories segue when Katherine Grey is accused of treason and thrown out of Queen Elizabeth's court to be locked in the Tower of London. Katherine must find a way to save her life while making sense of the young Princes fate.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved the rich descriptions in this novel. The costumes were dazzling and sumptuous. The meals, extravagant. The characters were all equally rich in personality and back story. I think Weir did a terrific job creating a story with so many textures.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when Kate Plantagenet arrives in London to attend Richard III's coronation. She is so young and innocent and has the world at her feet; Or so she believes. This is an interesting scene because shortly after this glorious night, Kate learns how she is limited because of her station in life as the illegitimate child of a powerful man. This scene was the last of her glory in a way; before the fairytale begins to fade.
Opinion about the main character:
I disliked how dumb Katherine Grey was. I really would like to choose a better word to describe her but unfortunately there is no other that quite gets at her dimness. There were so many instances when I just wanted to slap her before turning the page. Bravo Alison Weir for evoking such an intense emotional response in this reader.