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Her Highness, the Traitor

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,557 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews
As Henry VIII draws his last breath, two very different women, Jane Dudley, Viscountess Lisle, and Frances Grey, Marchioness of Dorset, face the prospect of a boy king, Edward VI.

For Jane Dudley, basking in the affection of her large family, the coming of a new king means another step upward for her ambitious, able husband, John. For Frances Grey, increasingly alienated fr
Paperback, 323 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks (first published 2012)
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City of Lost Souls by Cassandra ClareNevermore by James PattersonOut of Sight, Out of Time by Ally CarterInsurgent by Veronica RothSpell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Anticipated Books of 2012
60th out of 545 books — 1,051 voters
Shadow on the Crown by Patricia BracewellOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe King's Agent by Donna Russo MorinHer Highness, the Traitor by Susan HigginbothamVenus in Winter by Gillian Bagwell
Historical Novel Society 2013
4th out of 44 books — 79 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,557)
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4.5 stars.

Lady Jane Grey, the nine-day queen - was she a victim of her ruthless, scheming parents, or was she a victim of circumstance, being born much too close to the throne? How do you decide between the wishes of the dead king, or the one now dying?

After the unexpected death of Edward VI, England’s crown was to have gone first to elder sister Mary, and then to Elizabeth. Simple, right? Not. Problem was, not very many folks wanted Catholic Mary on England’s throne, plus Edward changed the or
Christy English
Jun 04, 2012 Christy English rated it it was amazing
Susan Higginbotham has done it again…she’s written an amazing book telling the story of Lady Jane Grey from the point of view of her mother. Frances Grey is often demonized in historical fiction and in film, so it is truly refreshing to find a novel that deals with her as a human being. As always, Susan breathes life into the past. Check out this novel…if you place yourself in Susan’s capable hands, you will not be disappointed.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mandy Moody
"The Tudor Story You Don't Know"
Or, at least that's what it says on the cover. Except that any Tudorphile who knows anything knows something (plenty) about the Nine Days Queen.
Most people that read Historical Fiction don't necessarily do so to LEARN something. They read to confirm their knowledge, or to argue against someone's research, or just for entertainment - but almost all of them already know the stories they are reading. The challenge for the Historical Fiction author, then, is to keep t
Aug 11, 2016 Gaile rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 16th-century, tudor
Heads fell while Henry VIII ruled. His son Edward inherited the throne at the age of nine and more heads fell as men around the young king sought power. Edward died having made a new will making his cousin Jane Grey queen. England wanted Henry's direct heir on the throne. More heads fell when Henry's daughter, Mary put down the plots against her and immediately decided to marry Phillip Of Spain which led to another rebellion. Until then Jane had thought she was safe as she was only sixteen and h ...more
Cynthia Mcarthur
May 13, 2012 Cynthia Mcarthur rated it really liked it
Susan Higginbotham does it again!

This is not the story of the nine-day Queen, Lady Jane Grey, but of her family, her husband Guildford Dudley’s family, and how they were affected by King Edward VI’s device for the succession. It is told from the points of view of Lady Jane Dudley and Lady Frances Grey, the mothers of the would-be ruling couple. Here the infamous Duke of Northumberland, John Dudley, becomes a devoted and attentive husband; he is a firm leader for England and peaceful about meetin
Rio (Lynne)
Jun 14, 2012 Rio (Lynne) rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars! Higginbotham takes the story we thought we knew about Jane Grey and turns it on it's head! John Dudley wasn't an evil man? Frances Grey didn't beat her daughter? Was Edward VI poisoned? Manipulated? Knowing Higginbotham is one of our trusted Historical Fiction authors, I couldn't wait to dig into her notes at the end. As usual she did her research and didn't jump on the myths and false accusations so many other writers and Hollywood have done.

The author gives us the story of The 9 Day
Whitley Birks
Jane Dudley and Francis Gray were not good choices as narrators. Or rather, they were not made into good narrators. Both women had no influence over the plot and merely summarized events that happened outside their homes. The reader learns of the story third-hand, as our narrators have to learn of events by way of letter or rumor before they can tell them to us. Neither woman takes any initiative in putting their children on the throne or even seem particularly interested in doing so. They just ...more
Claire Ridgway
Feb 21, 2012 Claire Ridgway rated it it was amazing
Lady Jane Grey’s story will always be a tragic one, no matter how you look at it, but what I loved about “Her Highness, the Traitor” was that the story was told through the eyes of the two mothers involved in the events of 1553: Frances Grey, mother of Lady Jane Grey, and Jane Dudley, mother of Guildford Dudley and wife of John Dudley. Higginbotham explores the impact of the events of 1547-1554 on both the Greys and Dudleys: Edward VI’s reign, the rise and fall of Protector Somerset, the rise of ...more
Throughout my reading of this book, I felt like the title could be changed slightly to fit almost every main character. At one time or another they were all found to be traitors to the crown and a vast many paid for it with their lives. With that said, THE traitor of the title is not one of our narrators, but her story is told through the viewpoints of Jane Dudley (Jane Grey’s mother-in-law) and Frances Grey (Jane Grey’s mother). I really appreciated this story being told from their perspectives ...more
Christy B
Jun 05, 2012 Christy B rated it really liked it
Her Highness, the Traitor opens with the death of Henry VIII and ends after the execution of Lady Jane Grey.

The book is told from the point-of-view of two women: Jane's mother Frances Grey; and Jane Dudley. The chapters went back and forth between them and the story didn't suffer for it. Admittedly, sometimes I did forget whose chapter I was on, but that may have been my own problem, seeing as I always have trouble keeping people straight with stories of this time period. It didn't help that so

What an incomparable novel! Susan Higginbotham tells the story of Lady Jane Grey from the dual perspectives of her mother, Frances Grey neé Brandon, niece of Henry VIII, and Jane Dudley neé Guildford, wife of John Dudley Duke of Northumberland and mother in law to Jane Grey. Her Highness the Traitor blasts through all the baseless scandalous dregs to expose the hackneyed rumours and provide a realistic portrait of the Grey and Dudley families.

Higginbotham is quite obviously a meticulous research
Krista McCracken
Apr 29, 2012 Krista McCracken rated it really liked it
Susan Higginbotham weaves an intriguing and honest historical fiction in Her Highness, the Traitor. The book follows the lives of Jane Dudley and Frances Grey and their families and England experiences a politically tumultuous time.

Higginbotham has done an excellent job of staying true to history in her accounts of events. The book provides a colourful overview of the political tensions, movements, and alliances of the time. Those readers looking for fluffy historical fiction may be disappointe
Apr 24, 2012 Michele rated it really liked it
Oh, what a fabulous rendition of the tale of Lady Jane Grey, the young Tudor girl who would rule England for a short nine days before losing her head for her efforts. Some years back, author Alison Weir wrote a lovely novel about Jane Grey, but it was told from Jane's POV in first person narrative, making it impossible to ascertain whether or not Jane really was as perfect and innocent as she was made to be in that novel.

Higginbotham brilliantly solves that problem by alternating viewpoints betw
Olga Hughes
May 06, 2012 Olga Hughes rated it it was amazing
Originally published at

The story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen, and her tragic end, often overshadows the story of her mother Frances and mother-in-law Jane Dudley. In the same year the two women lost both husbands and children and had to summon the strength to go on, struggling to keep the remains of their families’ intact while at the mercy of the very Crown who tore their families asunder.

Susan Higginbotham’s portrayal of these two women demand
May 05, 2012 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-reads
I thought that I knew the story of Lady Jane, the nine-days-queen whose brief rule followed that of her sickly cousin’s, Edward VI. In Her Highness, the Traitor, Susan Higginbotham challenges the long-held assumptions popular history has passed down about the major players in this tragic interlude in Tudor history. Was Frances Grey really an unloving tyrant of a mother? Was her daughter, Jane Grey, truly a pious and innocent martyr? How could Jane Dudley love her self-serving and fiercely ambiti ...more
Reading eARC.
Rating: 3.5 stars

When Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547, he left his nine-year-old son Edward to rule a kingdom broken by religious strife. Catholic England turned reformed Catholic England now turned Protestant England under Edward VI and his maternal uncle, Lord Protector Edward Seymour. But in 1553, Edward at fifteen years of age knew he was dying and he wanted to keep England out of the hands of his Catholic older sister Mary. Yet he did not want to leave his favorite sister, E
Rebecca Huston
I was very happy with this one, and found it to be worth the time to read. Just when I think that I have read everything and everyone on the Tudors, and being heartily sick of it all, Susan Higginbotham yanked me right out of that rut and presented the tale of two women who helped to create one of the more unusual events in history -- the reign of Lady Jane Grey as Queen of England for just nine days. It also changed some of my viewpoints on the main characters. Very well researched and written ...more
Ellen Ekstrom
Finally, historical fiction centered on the reign of Edward VI, the political and religious upheaval, the successsion crisis that is balanced and enjoyable to read. Ms. Higginbotham relies on history, extant letters and documents to tell the story of a kingdom at the edge of destruction while balancing toward the modern era. We are shown the period through the eyes and voices of two women close to the throne: Frances Grey, neice of Henry VIII, wife of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset and later Duke ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
The idea of a bratty Jane Grey, told by half by her mother Frances Grey and half by her mother-in-law Jane Dudley was a good one. Unfortunately, the two narrative voices were so similar it was hard to tell who was speaking, making the book considerably less enjoyable than it could have been.

As many of my friends, both here on goodreads, on Facebook and in real life know, I'm a sucker for historical fiction. Well, good historical fiction. Although I enjoy reading a good non-fiction book as much as the next history enthusiast, I enjoy good fiction equally. This is because I love to cuddle up and lose myself in the story. Be transported back to the time and experience the sounds, sights and smells of history.
This novel did not disappoint me in my addiction for good historical fictio
Sarah u

Her Highness, the Traitor is set during the reigns of Edward VI of England and Mary I of England, and tells the stories of the lives of the Grey and Dudley families. The story is told from the point of view of the mothers of Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford; Frances Grey and Jane Dudley. We see the rise and fall of the dukes of Suffolk and Northumberland and their families from beginning to end, and the rebuilding of the lives of the people they left behind.

The story is told in alternat
It has been way too long since I picked up any decent historical fiction, specifically from this era--which is sad, because I love Tudor period books. I just got a little burned out on them, I suppose, after the popularity of The Tudors and after the dozen or so Philippa Gregory books (which I love, just... yeah. Burned out.)

Anyway, I spent a few minutes reacquainting myself with the dozens of Janes, Marys, Catherines, Henrys, and Edwards in this period, and pushed on. This book is actually abo
Dec 26, 2012 Xenia0201 rated it it was amazing
I admit I wasn't looking forward to reading another story about Jane Grey. Much of what I have read about her depicts her as a stubborn idealistic brat, and parents ruthless and unloving. Susan Higginbotham's true talent in her writing is her ability to weave together all the principal characters and depict them with their own points of view. This technique is tremendously successful in eliciting empathy for even the most hated in history; the Duke of Northumberland, for example, and even France ...more
Feb 15, 2013 Pam rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction, ebook
Justine Kelly
Mar 13, 2013 Justine Kelly rated it liked it
Before I start my review, I should say that I know way more about Tudor history than is good for me. I think partly what I like about Susan's medieval fiction is that the stories are so fascinating to me - because I'm not as familiar with a lot of the history.

For this one, I found some of the historical backstory to be a bit tedious since I already knew, for instance, that Mary Tudor suffered greatly after Henry discarded her mother, or that Frances Grey's mother was Henry VIII's sister who was
The book is the story of Jane Grey told from the alternating viewpoints of her mother and her mother in law. It is good to finally read a novel where Jane Grey and her mother are depicted with more substance than the usual ‘poor daughter, evil mother’ stereotype. The different viewpoints do not clash and the story flows smoothly. However, at some point the two voices assimilate into one, and create confusion. The narrative got a little monotonous at some points because of this, but otherwise, th ...more
May 13, 2014 Brittany rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this version of the Nine Days Queen's reign. I quickly got sucked in to the story and didn't want to put it down. Frances Grey's and Jane Dudley's pov really worked for me. At first, I was a bit disappointed that Jane Grey was not front and center but that soon vanished. However, I was expecting more characterization from the two main characters. I kept getting confused mid-chapter forgetting which pov I was reading because you could not differentiate the two. If the two main ch ...more
Oct 10, 2014 Maudie rated it really liked it
Susan Higginbotham has given new voice to these women who have been dead for centuries...especially Jane Dudley whose words still ring true to more modern ears listening at such a distance from medieval England...a great read from Ms. Higginbotham...
Regina Lindsey
Nov 17, 2015 Regina Lindsey rated it liked it
Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham
3 Stars

Anyone who follows Tudor history history knows the story of Jane Gray, who at age 17 ascended to the throne of England for nine days when opponents of Mary, out of fear of forcibly returning to the Catholic religion, made a case that Edward had recognized Jane on his deathbed as the true heir to the throne in his will.

Most historical fiction paints Jane's parents as the ambitious couple seeking to rise in rank and power by placing their dau
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Tudor History Lovers: March 2015 - Her Highness the Traitor, by Susan Higginbotham 30 75 Mar 26, 2015 11:54AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 16, 2015 09:34AM  
Goodreads Librari...: description with reviews 2 21 Jun 23, 2013 04:06PM  
The REAL Jane Grey?? 1 23 Jun 22, 2012 07:59PM  
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I am the author of two historical novels set in fourteenth-century England: The Traitor's Wife: A Novel of the Reign of Edward II and Hugh and Bess. Both were reissued in 2009 by Sourcebooks.

My third novel, The Stolen Crown, is set during the Wars of the Roses. It features Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, and his wife, Katherine Woodville, as narrators. My fourth novel, The Queen of Last Hopes,
More about Susan Higginbotham...

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