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Carpe Librum

Reviews and bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.

If I am lost, you will find me in medieval England.

You can also find me - and my books - on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

Currently reading

The Last Lancastrian: A Story of Margaret Beaufort (Plantagenet Embers Novellas Book 1)
Samantha Wilcoxson
A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens, Gillen D'Arcy Wood
Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants
Louie Giglio
Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet
Lyndal Roper
The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
Mark Batterson
1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation
Peter Marshall
House of Beaufort: The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown
Nathen Amin

Crown of Blood by Nicola Tallis

Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey - Nicola Tallis

The story of Lady Jane Grey has captivated many people since her death over 460 years ago. She is typically thought of as a romantic figure, a pawn in greater men's schemes. Of course, she was that to a certain extent, but this biography demonstrates that she was also a young woman of unusual intellect and fanatic faith. She did not ask for the crown, but once she had it she also demanded the crown jewels. She held fast to her faith and had contempt for anyone who did not. She had much in common with her cousin, Mary, though they are remembered very differently.


Since there is little recorded of the short life of Jane Grey, much of this book extrapolates information from what we do know of her parents and royal relatives. Due to Jane's love of reading and writing, many examples of her own thoughts are included, and they are certainly not those of a submissive teenager. I enjoyed getting as detailed of a picture of Jane as I believe it is possible to obtain.


A book about Jane could have easily turned into a denouncement of Queen Mary, the woman who was eventually convinced to send Jane to her death. However, I was pleased to see that the author does not do this. Mary's rise was accurately described as the will of the people and achieved without bloodshed. This is not a story of Jane versus Mary, and I was impressed by the author's ability to write a fair and balanced account.


If you have studied Tudor history, I think you will still find a few interesting new tidbits in this book. I know I did. It was also beneficial to read about some of what I did know but from the point of view of how it effected Jane. The narrative style is easy to read, and the details are well-researched. Definitely a worthwhile read.


I received this book through the publisher and NetGalley.