Orsolya's Reviews > A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir
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's review
Dec 31, 2011

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bookshelves: historical-fiction, tudor-england, mistresses-royalty, jane-grey, library, library-2
Read from October 12 to 16, 2012

The Princes in the Tower are a delicious historical mystery which still mystifies many Anglophiles. Alison Weir’s new angle on the mystery portrays Kate Plantagenet and Katherine Grey attempting to unravel some of the dark secrets behind the brothers’ disappearance in “A Dangerous Inheritance”.

Initially, “A Dangerous Inheritance” appears to be two books in one: one portraying Kate Plantagenet and another following Katherine Grey. It can be concluded that Weir wanted to write a book on each but instead of giving in to the inevitable speculation which would have resulted from the lack of sufficient resources; she combined the figures and opted for a historical fiction novel instead. However, I would have rather read a light history book, as the historical events mentioned are generally accurate (albeit with the usual Weir stances/views) and include a sufficient amount of detail and pleasing descriptions (also typical of Weir).

The fiction, on the contrary, feels forced with a very juvenile-level dialogue. The characters (especially the main heroines) are very one dimensional and child-like (granted they are children in the story); while the other supporting roles are stereotypical (evil, hunchback Richard!). This prevented me from experiencing any depth and from feeling a connection to the story.

I do give Weir credit for attempting to give some limelight to Kate Plantagenet (a bastard child of Richard III); as she is often ignored and sometimes disputed as Richard’s daughter. Furthermore, as the reader realizes the concept behind “A Dangerous Inheritance”; it is recognized how creative it is. Rather than trying to connect Kate and Katherine directly, Weir fashioned a detective story in which Katherine Grey seeks to find conclusions regarding the disappearance behind the Princes in the Tower. Weir alternates between Katherine’s discoveries and the actual events which Kate may have experienced during her own time.

Although this is an interesting devising of the story of the Princes; the detective work reads like a YA fiction novel (it is very Nancy Drew: Ghosts! Shadows!). Plus, Weir sticks to her usual opinions versus attempting to work through her characters to look at other leads or viewpoints. There is certainly no new information and neither is “A Dangerous Inheritance” Ricardian friendly.

Weir executes the heroines’ investigations accurately in respect to what evidence would have been available to both during their respective time periods. Although Weir may have been tempted by evidence since discovered/debated; the story felt “real” by their absence. The pace throughout “A Dangerous Inheritance” is rather smooth and moves the story along swiftly.

Somewhat odd are the “interludes” by Elizabeth I which are an attempt to personalize her actions but felt awkward and too arranged.

The “Author’s Note” was the best part of the novel, providing a couple facts I was unaware of. Weir also asserts that this is a fictional work and not meant to be an “authoritative source” (do you hear that, you readers who believe everything?).

Although I found “A Dangerous Inheritance” to remind me of “Three Maids for a Crown” by Ella March Chase and even though the novel wasn’t “for me” due to my minimal interest in mysteries; I can see why others would enjoy it. “A Dangerous Inheritance” is not necessarily to be discredited; it just personally wasn’t to my liking this time.
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Reading Progress

10/12/2012 page 176
32.0% "Eh... too stereotypical in its views and I'm not that into mysteries."
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* How's this working Orsolya? Just picked it up on sale at Walmart.

Orsolya It's not. At least not for me. I can see why others would like it. But it feels too much like a YA mystery novel.

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Orsolya wrote: "It's not. At least not for me. I can see why others would like it. But it feels too much like a YA mystery novel."

I dont mind the mystery part..but what do you mean YA?
Is it written in that style? The characters are YA?

message 4: by Orsolya (last edited Oct 16, 2012 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Orsolya The characters are young (it focuses on both Katherines as minors) and the style isn't very deep or mature. It isn't terrible if you are into that sort of thing. I am about to put my review up so maybe that will help you :)

Michele Ack, sorry this one didn't work so well for you. I loved your Nancy Drew characterization, though! Spot on, lol!

Orsolya Thanks!! I seriously thought it had a Nancy Drew feel!

message 7: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Oct 16, 2012 12:50PM) (new) - added it

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Great review Orsolya! Weir sure seems to be doing "weird" stuff with her books these days. Hmmm. I think I will try it for the "mystery" factor as I like that sorta thing. Not sure about the time line thing,III let you know:) Oh...and I LOVED Nancy Drew! LOL! Her books got me on the love for reading wagon all those years ago :D

message 8: by Orsolya (last edited Oct 16, 2012 12:44PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Orsolya Thanks, Sandi! I think the book is sufficient, had she not targeted adults and just labeled it as a YA novel. I do think it is a creative angle, so I give her credit for that. I'm just not into it. Since you like the mystery factor, I think you may enjoy it. :)

message 9: by Jemidar (new) - added it

Jemidar You've made me very happy Orsolya. Not Ricardian friendly with a hunchbacked R3?! Sold. I have to read this book ASAP :-D.

Cynthia Mcarthur Orsolya,
What would you have thought if Weir has also included interludes featuring Richard's POV? Would that have made the Elizabeth interludes less weird? I thought it might.

message 11: by Anna (new)

Anna Jemidar wrote: "You've made me very happy Orsolya. Not Ricardian friendly with a hunchbacked R3?! Sold. I have to read this book ASAP :-D."


message 12: by Jemidar (new) - added it

Jemidar Gonna read it with me Anna?

message 13: by Anna (new)

Anna That would be a big fat NO, thank you very much ;-)

message 14: by Jemidar (new) - added it

Jemidar Why am I not surprised?! LOL.

Orsolya Cynthia: that would have been a very interesting twist! I think I would have liked that!

Haha Anna and Jedimar, your opposing Richard views are entertaining. I actually don't like Richard overall but still like to expand my knowledge on him.

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