Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey

Nicola Tallis. Pegasus, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-68177-244-8
British historian Tallis portrays nine-day queen Grey (1536/1537–1554) as a determined, devout, and clothes-loving teenager whose intellect, youth, and religious fervor perpetuate her mythologizing centuries later. During the dawn of English Protestantism, Grey vigorously discussed religious tenets with both Catholic and Protestant theologians, garnering praise for her understanding and later inspiring her inclusion in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Tallis humanizes Grey, showing her willfulness—she refused to corule with her husband, whose father placed her on the throne—as well as her desperation to please her remarkably unwise parents, whose ambition cost Jane her freedom and life. Popular myths and earlier historical interpretations of key events receive fresh analysis aided by diligent research (a minor complaint is an odd reference to Henry VIII’s “divorce” of Anne of Cleves—it was technically annulled). Tallis’s clear writing and well-paced narrative heighten the story’s climactic and tragic ending. She also pays careful attention to the relationship between Mary I and Grey, noting warm, long-standing family ties and similarities in religious fervor—albeit for different denominations—and key differences in how each approached her claim to the throne. Tallis successfully champions Jane’s reign as legitimate and elucidates her role as a key player in the battle for England’s official church. Illus. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2016
Release date: 12/06/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-68177-555-5
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-68177-287-5
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