As cousins of history's most tempestuous queens, Ladies Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey were born in an age when all of London lived beneath the Tower's menacing shadow. Tyrannized by Bloody Mary and the Virgin Queen, the sisters feared love was unthinkable —and the scaffold all but unavoidable...
Raised to fear her royal blood and what it might lead men to do in her name, Mary Grey dreads what will become of herself and her elder sisters under the reigns of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I. On their honor, they have no designs on the crown, yet are condemned to solitude, forbidden to wed. Though Mary, accustomed to dwelling in the shadows, the subject of whispers, may never catch the eye of a gentleman, her beautiful and brilliant sisters long for freedoms that would surely cost their lives. And so, wizened for her years, Mary can only hope for divine providence amid a bleak present and a future at the whim of the throne — unless destiny gains the upper hand.
A gripping and bittersweet tale of broken families and broken hearts, courage and conviction, The Queen's Rivals recounts an astonishing chapter in the hard-won battle for the Tudor throne.
My Thoughts: I have read a few books about Jane Grey-the doomed nine days Queen in Tudor history but I had read virtually nothing about her sisters Katherine and Mary. The Queen's Rivals takes on the task of relating the story of all three sisters: Jane known as the brilliant one, Katherine the beautiful one, and Mary the deformed "little beastly one". Mary is the kindhearted character that narrates the story.
This is my third book by Brandy Purdy and what I love about her books is she does such an amazing job of thoroughly exploring her characters and their surroundings. You can really get inside the head of the characters and it was easy to delve into the personalities of Jane-the willful, defiant, religious and melancholy sister, Katherine-the bubbly, spirited girl who leads with her heart, and Mary-the wise beyond her years, diplomatic, and most tender of the sisters. I definitely loved Mary the most of the three. The story follows the sisters from the girlhood and the trials they faced at the hands of their clueless father and domineering mother to their later years as they suffer due to their proximity to the crown which causes suspicion and jealousy on the part of their cousins and Queens Mary and Elizabeth.
There were a few small things I did not like so much-namely in areas there were run on sentences that made for a bit of difficult reading here and there and also the use of repetition kind of grated me a bit. I notice that the author has done this in all three of the novels I have read-there is some verse or description that is repeated several times throughout (the song Tom Seymour sings in The Tudor Throne and referring to Amy Dudley as Robert Dudley's buttercup bride in The Queen's Pleasure). Here it was the referring to Jane, Katherine and Mary as "the brilliant one, the beautiful one, and the beastly one". It may not be an issue for some but personally the repetition does get to me after awhile. These are really minor things though and I do recommend this fun and wonderfully imagined book. Another thing that I really appreciate about Purdy's books is that she is not afraid to be a little more brazen in her characters choices and actions. While historically based, it is a story after all and I am always delighted with the bolder interpretation she takes with these characters about which virtually nothing was known. Really enjoyed this one and recommend to Tudor era lovers. If you have not tried Brandy's books and have previously enjoyed Philippa Gregory, Anne Easter Smith, or Michelle Moran I would suggest you try The Queen's Rivals.
ARC provided to me for review for participation in the author's tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. These are my honest thoughts on the book.
I am pleased to be able to offer a copy of The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy to one lucky winner!
TO ENTER: Leave your name and email address in the comments. One extra entry each for spreading the word via Twitter, Facebook or your blog.
OPEN TO: US
GIVEAWAY ENDS: Midnight July 29th. Winner will be selected and announced on the 30th. Good luck!
This title will be released as The Fallen Queen by Emily Purdy in the UK on September 13th.
About the Author:
Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels The Confession of Piers Gaveston, The Boleyn Wife (The Tudor Wife), The Tudor Throne (Mary & Elizabeth), The Queen's Pleasure (A Court Affair) and The Queen's Rivals (The Fallen Queen). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at www.brandypurdy.com, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.
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