This book is a fictionalized yet as accurate as possible portrait of all too short life of Lady Jane Grey. While obviously we can never know exactly what people thought or what was said behind closed doors, Weir fills in the blanks of the historical story with interesting fiction that creates a logical overall story.
The book is written in the present by many narrators which allows the reader to see the story from many points of view, ulimately painting a complete picture from many points of view, humanizing each historical figure and showing what their emotions and motives behind their actions were likely to be. The story is told by Lady Jane Grey herself (the extremely intelligent, headstrong and devout granddaughter of a Princess of England), Jane's mother (proud and ambitious, a cold mother not realizing what her child means to her until it is too late), Mrs. Ellen (Jane's nurse that loved her as a mother should and was with her until the very end), Queen Catherine Parr (Jane's kindly benefactress), Dudley (the ambitious, greedy man who set in motion the events that would come by trying to retain his power), Queen Mary (who struggles with her obligations as a Catholic Queen and her conscience knowing of Jane's youth and innocence), and even the executioner himself.
I also found the historical facts of life that Weir weaves into the narrative interesting, everything from court etiquette and the religious environment, to the small things like the fact that part of the executioners payment was the clothes the executed person was wearing.
Overall a gripping read that had me fighting tears at the end and gave me a new respect for the courage of this 16 year old girl.
In many of the books I've read, the relationship of Lady Jane to the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth is really not as clear as it is here. There is a real sense in the book of how Jane is only a pawn in the greater scheme of the religious issues of the time, which is truly unfortunate. While fictionalized to some degree, the historical story is well told.
I really enjoyed this book about Lady Jane Grey. Lady Jane Grey, grand-niece of King Henry VIII, is an outstanding scholar and wants nothing more than to study with her tutor and translate the classics. But her ambitious parents push her into a role where she becomes Queen of England at the age of sixteen, although for only nine days. This story is full of intrigue and plots and is hard to put down. What's even more amazing is that the book is based on the actual history of the time. Highly recommend this.