With this month being the anniversary of Lady Jane Grey’s execution (12th February 1554), I thought it was fitting for me to publish my review of Eric Ives’s biography “Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery” and make this brilliant biography our February Book of the Month.
You can read my full review at our Tudor Book Reviews site – click here, but here is an extract:-
If you keep up with my posts on The Anne Boleyn Files, you will know that I am Professor Ives’s number one fan as I am always recommending his biography of Anne Boleyn, “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, and I am just as pleased with this biography. Why do I like Eric Ives’s work so much?:-
- Ives is fair and balanced
- His research is meticulous
- He bases his views, theories and opinions on historical sources
- He cites his sources – and accurately too! No just saying LP, he tells you which part of which volume.
- Although his books are history text books they are wonderfully readable
- He looks at every part of his subject’s life and also the context, the times they lived in
- He sifts through myths, legends, chronicles and sources to get to the truth
Those are just a few of the reasons why I love his work and I cannot recommend his biographies enough.
What’s the Mystery
So, “what’s the mystery?”, you may ask, “why the strange title”. Well, although we know that Lady Jane Grey, or Jane Dudley, was monarch of England for a short time, what do we really know about her? Not a lot. We can’t even get her nickname right, she ruled for thirteen days, yet we insist on calling her “The Nine Days Queen”!
In his biography, Eric Ives attempts to solve the mystery surrounding Lady Jane Grey, to introduce us to the real Jane and to answer the following questions:-
- What did Lady Jane Grey look like?
- When was she born?
- What were her family like?
- Was Frances Brandon really a tyrant?
- Was Lady Jane Grey manipulated by those around her?
- Was she forced into marriage?
- Did she want the crown or was she forced into being Queen?
- Was she a Protestant martyr? A Victorian heroine? An innocent? A scapegoat?
- Just how intelligent was she?
- Why did Edward VI choose her as his heir?
- Why did Mary I finally execute her?
Read the rest of my review at Tudor Book Reviews.