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Carpe Librum

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Historical Novel Society

Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle

Sisters of Treason - Elizabeth Fremantle

After finishing Queen's Gambit, I knew that I had to read Fremantle's take on the unfortunate Grey sisters.

(Contains historical facts that may be spoilers to some.)

I love the fact that this story is about Katherine and Mary and their lives after the execution of their sister Jane, rather than the much-told story of Jane's life. While I love Jane's story and think she had amazing potential, this story was more unique.

The novel is told from the POV of each of the sisters and artist, Levina Teerlinc. I enjoyed the sisters and their personalities that were so different, but Levina never grew on me.

Katherine was the flighty, emotional, and selfish girl that she is often characterized as, but she also had a deeper side. She would wish for a simple life and try to be less selfish, but couldn't help falling back into her impetuous and thoughtless ways. Yet, somehow, she is loved by all. All except the bitter and jealous Queen Elizabeth.

Mary is more of a deep thinker, maybe because so little is expected of her. She buries anger over her disabilities, lack of future, and mockery that she endures, but every now and then it bubbles to the surface. She often thinks of her sister Jane, and wonders what she would do in order to keep herself on the right path.

Together the sisters are tormented by Elizabeth, who denies them freedom, love, and any kind of real life. Watching beautiful Katherine go from being full of life and passion to a broken yet still young woman was heartbreaking. Poor Mary is forced to continue to serve the cruel queen even as she knows that her sister is in need with nobody to help her.

I enjoyed the development of the sisters and their courage to attempt a stand against the self-absorbed queen. Though I knew their story, I was captivated by Fremantle's storytelling. I have yet to read a story that makes me think anything positive about Elizabeth and wonder why so many revere her. Mary and Katherine couldn't be more different, but both suffer for nothing more than Elizabeth's fear of their Tudor blood.

A very worthwhile and satisfying read. I look forward to more great novels from this author.