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Group Reads > [Oct & Nov 2009] Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

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Colleen (NightOleander) | 1106 comments Okay ladies and gents, let the discussion begin!


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) So - who is reading so far. I have finished because my book had to be back at the library, so I am ready to discuss whenever.


message 3: by Paula (last edited Oct 07, 2009 08:52PM) (new)

Paula | 85 comments I just started this book; it's my first group read for this group. So far, my only reaction is that I'm glad I wasn't a pregnant woman during this time period!


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) I second that Paula. I hope you like the rest of the book.


Mandy | 33 comments I have the book from the library but haven't started it yet. I'm just finishing up Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir and can't start reading 2 of these books at the same time. It's hard enough keeping all the names straight in one book, let alone attempting 2 :)


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Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments I'm about 100 pages in and should be finished it this weekend. It's really good! I love how it tells the different perspectives.

I think the pregnant lady comment :)

Also glad I wasn't Frances' daughter.


Karen | 15 comments I too like the first-person approach but found it a little disconcerting at first since I generally ignore chapter headings. Once I figured out I needed to pay attention to them, it made sense!

One vignette that sticks out for me is the description of the visit to the printer's. It wasn't strictly necessary--there's plenty of evidence of Jane's scholarship without it--so I think it was something Weir worked in because she thought it was cool and wanted to share it. I like that!




message 8: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments I really enjoyed that part too. I also liked the bit about the 'blooding'. Or maybe 'liked' isn't the right word but I didn't realize that that was customary at that time.


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Mandy wrote: "I have the book from the library but haven't started it yet. I'm just finishing up Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir and can't start reading 2 of these books at the same time. It's hard enou..."

But since this one is about the same people, maybe it won't be so bad, Mandy. (LOL) I agree, the names and people get confusing at times, I have a reference book that I often have to refer to so I can be sure who is who.


message 10: by readinghearts (Lyn M) (last edited Oct 08, 2009 10:34AM) (new)

readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) The printer vignette is priceless. That and the blooding scene are the types of things that I really like historical fiction for. The descriptions of what life was like then.

Jennifer, just wait until the end of the book. I promise you will want to slap Frances upside the head! I know ambition was rampant in the gentry at that time, but to use your children as pawns so shamelessly. I wanted to scream.


Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments Frances was so horrible to her children!! More so to Jane and Mary than Katherine (ha, Mandy, you're right all the names are the same!). I really like the different perspectives in the book. I agree with Jennifer, i also "liked" the bit about the blooding. Before I read this I didn't know it was customary either so I started doing some research on it. All I can say is, i wouldn't like to be blooded!!!!


Claire (freezingkiss) | 149 comments I love this book. I read it a few months ago and was just blown away. It's so incredible, Alison Weir is amazing. Poor Lady Jane, she was doomed from the start, such horrible parents! Her mother didn't even seem to care that much about all the horrible things that happened to her daughter!


Robin | 100 comments I have read this but loaned it to a friend to read so I don't have it on hand.

I agree....Frances was horrible to Jane and I'm pretty certain that's fairly accurate historically. I have read in other works that mention Jane that others in the royal circle were aware of how Frances treated her.


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Yes Robin. I think that is why Queen Katherine Parr was so good to her and took such an interest in her. Too bad she died before Jane was fully grown. She was a better mother to Jane than Frances ever was!


Stacykurko (stacyinsavannah) | 3 comments I finished this book, and was so sorry when I was done. I wanted more, though I know it ended where it needed to. I loved the different perspectives on the story, it felt richer to me.


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Stacy - I have finished, too. No real spoilers, because we all know how it ends, but I thought the book was a real emotional roller coaster. I also hated to see it end. In addition, I didn't expect to feel so sad for some of the characters at the end.


Paula | 85 comments Ok, sorry, I know this is only on page 13 (apologies for slowness) but Frances says to her husband, "I think you get my drift." Really? Did they say 'get my drift' at that time?

Now, I'm not normally one to point such things out, as I usually wouldn't catch them, but did they really use that phrase back then?


Mandy | 33 comments Paula wrote: "Ok, sorry, I know this is only on page 13 (apologies for slowness) but Frances says to her husband, "I think you get my drift." Really? Did they say 'get my drift' at that time?

Now, I'm not no..."


Paula, no worries about being slow. I just started the book yesterday and only on page 40-ish. I thought exactly the same thing about the line "I think you get my drift". I had to read it a couple of times, and also wondered if that was a historically accurate line.




Laura | 15 comments It's been awhile since I read this so I hope that I am remembering correctly. I didn't really know much about her until reading this book. I was surprised when I read that it wasn't until Wyatt's rebellion that the decision was made to execute her. I seem to remember that Mary was reluctant to execute her. I agree, Frances was a horrible parent. I would like to read The Sisters Who Would Be Queen Katherine, Mary, and Lady Jane Grey A Tudor Tragedy to get more information on the Greys.


Robin | 100 comments Mary wasn't going to execute her as she knew Jane was innocent of all the plotting and didn't want to take the Crown in the first place. It was only after Wyatt's rebellion (which her father, the Duke of Suffolk, took part in even after being granted a pardon from the Queen) that Mary was finally convinced to execute her as she saw Jane would continuously be used as a figurehead.


message 21: by readinghearts (Lyn M) (last edited Oct 09, 2009 12:10PM) (new)

readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Paula - good catch. I think I skimmed right by that, but it doesn't seem like the type of comment that would be made at that time.

Laura - I have that book on my TBR too. It looks interesting and I will have to try it out at some point.

That was one of the things that was so emotional for me at the end. This poor girl could not get a break for anything. And she wasn't like Ann Boleyn and some of the others who were willing participants in the actions that lead to their demise. But if I were Mary Tudor, I would probably been forced to do the same thing. Jane was going to be used as a figurehead by others as long as she was alive. And she ignored the advice to execute her for a long time.




message 22: by Darbus, Mod #2 (new)

Darbus | 93 comments I got my hands on this book today, and am generally enjoying it. There are a couple of places where I've wondered whether what was stated was really someone's opinion. For example, did Frances really think that Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon to be a disaster? I don't know a lot about her, but I know that her parents certainly did not believe so. Also, who was the Duke of Suffolk at the time of Edward's birth? Was it still Charles Brandon?


Danielle  (danielledore) | 13 comments I loved this book and I felt really heartbroken by Jane's story. She was a courageous and intellegent young woman.

Darbus, as far as the opinions of the characters go, that is something the writer of historical fiction must interpret on their own. We can never really know what someone was thinking from that time, but Weir does a great job in all her books in giving the most likely opinions. I'm pretty sure Charles Brandon was still the Duke of Suffolk when Edward was born but I'm not sure on that :)


Robin | 100 comments Brandon died in 1545 and Edward was born in 1537. So yes, he was there when Ed was born but had died by the time he became King in 1547.


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Darbus | 93 comments Right. I remember reading something that mentioned his death in Elizabeth I Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544. Danielle, you do have a good point. There are some cases where we know for sure what someone thought based on their actions. And that opinion certainly helps set up the character of Frances, which is a quite formidable one in this book. I thought that the blooding scene was just horrible. I am a vegetarian, and that's just... horrid. The printer bit was really enjoyable.


Wen (thespoilingone) | 140 comments Jennifer wrote: "I really enjoyed that part too. I also liked the bit about the 'blooding'. Or maybe 'liked' isn't the right word but I didn't realize that that was customary at that time. "

Now I read this book a few months back but very clearly remember the Blooding part. I am a big animal lover and do not think I would have even survived it as well as she did. To think that was an honored right of passage sounds aweful to me but guess was very normal?


Kate. | 173 comments I started last night. Im around pg 100.
I could not put it down. Gee i love books that do that.

It has made me think how changed western society is in regards to marriage and a woman's beauty. A thin woman being regarded as sickly !!! They would be all horified at the world now.

Im enjoying reading about Katherine Parr. I dont know anything about her and wonder if she was really this kind and caring ??


Paula | 85 comments Wen wrote: "Now I read this book a few months back but very clearly remember the Blooding part. I am a big animal lover and do not think I would have even survived it as well as she did. To think that was an honored right of passage sounds aweful to me but guess was very normal?
"


I agree - I read this part and was horrified. And she had to do it at such a young age! It's a real sign of how afraid she was of her parents, that she was that terrified of going against them.




Paula | 85 comments Kate wrote: "I started last night. Im around pg 100.
I could not put it down. Gee i love books that do that.. ..."


Completely agree - I got to that bit about "get my drift" on p.13, posted my comment, then shot through to about page 100 as well. Extremely readable.

I feel like the author has not separated herself from her other role as historian, though. I feel like so much of the book is a history lesson, as people "remember" that talking about the King a certain way is considered treasonous. I know that already - get to the good stuff! :)



Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments Paula- Alison Weir definitely kept the role of historian through this book!! But I think that is why I like it so much! It makes it seem much more real to me!
On another note about the decision to execute Jane-
Jane would have been a figurehead for the rest of her life, but Phillip of Spain also blackmailed Mary into executing her. He refused to come into the country and marry her until all opposition to the throne was destroyed.


message 31: by readinghearts (Lyn M) (last edited Oct 11, 2009 02:29PM) (new)

readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) I agree Aly--I really feel really sorry for Mary in addition to Jane. Talk about bieng caught between a rock and a hard place. Knowing that Mary and Jane had problems when Jane was younger because of their differing faiths, I had expected Mary to execute Jane with no regrets, but Mary was truly a compassionate soul, at least in this case. Bowing to Phillip and Spain must have been hard and illustrates how badly she wanted a child and heir. Especially since Phillip turned out to be such a great catch for her (sarcasm intended!)


Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments This book definitely made me feel something for Mary that I didn't think I would: compassion. I've always seen her as the "Debbie Downer" of the Tudors. Thinking about her in a different way really opened me up to who she actually could have been. She had a hard life and it didn't get any easier when she became Queen. In a lot of ways, her life was mirrored by Jane's. Both saw the throne as a way out of their problems, but in the end it destroyed both of them (obviously in different ways).


Laura | 15 comments Aly wrote: "This book definitely made me feel something for Mary that I didn't think I would: compassion. I've always seen her as the "Debbie Downer" of the Tudors. Thinking about her in a different way real..."

I agree. She saw how her mother was treated by her father. She never knew where she stood in her father's affections and she had to know how much her father wanted a son. I think she wanted to have a family and children of her own so badly because of her own childhood.


Wen (thespoilingone) | 140 comments Laura wrote: I agree. She saw how her mother was treated by her father. She never knew where she stood in her father's affections and she had to know how much her father wanted a son. I think she wanted to have a family and children of her own so badly because of her own childhood.


Yes to all of that...also after reading the Edward VI book in the last group read, it showed how Marys hard times continued while Edward was on the throne...so that all just compounded everything she went through with Henry. Her life was a sad one just as Janes was. I dont think either of them were in a place/time where they could possibly have happy outcomes.




Marie Z. Johansen (MusingCrow) | 51 comments Lyn wrote: "I agree Aly--I really feel really sorry for Mary in addition to Jane. Talk about bieng caught between a rock and a hard place. Knowing that Mary and Jane had problems when Jane was younger becaus..."

I don;t think that Mary was cut out for the role of Queen - yes, she was compassionate at times but her faith got in the way. The term "Bloody Mary" was not won lightly I would think. Religion has always been such a lightening rod ... I think that Jane was really looking for a way out - what a home life she had! I am looking forward to reading the new book that's coming out about Jane and her sisters, perhaps that will shed some light on who Jane really was for me.


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Darbus | 93 comments I think that my favourite quote so far is as follows. "'He was a traitorous schemer. He killed my dog.' I cannot be sure which he regards as the worse crime." It really goes to show how Edward was really just a young boy, with a title and some arrogance thrust upon him. Poor bloke. Marie, what new book is this of which you speak?


Marie Z. Johansen (MusingCrow) | 51 comments Darbus wrote: "I think that my favourite quote so far is as follows. "'He was a traitorous schemer. He killed my dog.' I cannot be sure which he regards as the worse crime." It really goes to show how Edward ..."

Hi Darbus "The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: Mary, Katherine, and Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Tragedy" by Leanda de Lisle. It's in my pre-order basket at Amazon . I am looking for a less expensive way to get "Elizabeth of York:(Queenship and Power)" by Arlene Naylor Okerlund too if anyone finds a place that's less than Amazon ..pricey little beast. When my cart at Amazon holds more than my pay check I know I am in trouble! I even checked Amazon UK on this one and it's tres cher there as well!


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Colleen (NightOleander) | 1106 comments I cannot wait to start this book, still waiting for it to be checked back in at the library grrr...


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Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Kate wrote: "Im enjoying reading about Katherine Parr. I dont know anything about her and wonder if she was really this kind and caring ?? "

I also don't know much about Katherine Parr but I do believe that yes, she was very kind and caring when it came to Jane and Henry's children. If I remember correctly (or correct me if I'm wrong), KP was instrumental in reconciling Henry with his daughters and having them return to court.... or was that Jane Seymour?..... now I'm questioning myself.


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Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments As far as Innocent Traitor goes, I think it's a fantastic book! Well-written, easy to follow and I'm completely loving switching back and forth through charcter perspectives. My only (small) complaint is that I'm kept having to figure out how much time has passed in the early chapters (with 50 pages left I pretty much know the timeline). I wasn't sure if a month had passed or a year and kept forgetting to pay attention to the date headings. That's just me though :)


Paula | 85 comments Question (and potential *spoiler* for those who don't know the history):

Did Jane really try to refuse the crown?


Marie Z. Johansen (MusingCrow) | 51 comments Paula wrote: "Question (and potential *spoiler* for those who don't know the history):

Did Jane really try to refuse the crown? "


I think Jane was very young, and saw the own as a way to bring England back to the faith and escape her parents. That said, because she was so young I also feel that it would be reasonable for her to waiver. I am always amazed at the way children were denied much of their childhoods in these times and have found it also difficult to imagine how ANY very young person could possibly be as dedicated and cool about things as Jane is portrayed as being - and others of her time as well for that matter. I almost always find Alison Weir's books to be pleasing.
Also - I DO believe that Katherine was, indeed a very generous and kind person.


Harriet | 20 comments I read this book a few years ago and absolutely loved it. It was one of the first non-Philippa Gregory historical fiction novels I read. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry... but I sobbed throughout the last about 20 pages!
Unlike a lot of historical fiction, even though I obviously knew what was going to happen, I felt that Weir wrote it so well that I was still on edge wondering what was going to happen. I started to question history and hope that Weir had found a way to change it! Was anyone else that gullible?


Robin | 100 comments Jennifer wrote: "Kate wrote: "Im enjoying reading about Katherine Parr. I dont know anything about her and wonder if she was really this kind and caring ?? "

I also don't know much about Katherine Parr but I do..."


From all accounts I have come across, she WAS that caring. She did help reconcile Henry to his daughters and bring them back to court. I do believe Jane Seymour did try to help Princess Mary out but not Elizabeth.

Elizabeth says many times that she really loved Katherine Parr and seemed to see her as the "mother she never had."


Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments Paula wrote: "Question (and potential *spoiler* for those who don't know the history):

Did Jane really try to refuse the crown? "


I don't know if she outright refused it like she did in the book, but I do know that there are some records of her hesitancy. Even though Edward said she was his successor, it wasn't legal for him to change the succession. I'm not entirely sure why. But she had to of known that Mary was going to do everything in her power to become queen.


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Harriet - I sobbed, too. Even though I knew she had to die, I kept hoping something or someone would intervene.


Wen (thespoilingone) | 140 comments Lyn wrote: "Harriet - I sobbed, too. Even though I knew she had to die, I kept hoping something or someone would intervene. "


Oh me too and I dont tend to cry over books. May tear up but not out and out cry. I knew what would happen but still was so overcome with the sadness that she was so young and thought she was to be pardoned and all.




readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Ya Wen, I actually think that was the cruelest punishment of all. To be promised a pardon, then have it rescinded because of others actions, not your own. I really got to me.


message 49: by Darbus, Mod #2 (new)

Darbus | 93 comments I think that it wasn't legal for the succession to be changed because of something having to do with needing Parliament's approval for thus-and-such, but I'm not sure on that. In those days, there really wasn't a teenager-hood. You went from being a kid to being an adult. The author Scott Westerfeld talked about this at his talk/book signing that I went to last week, it was really interesting. He was saying that because of that, people see whatever teenagers are doing as wrong or bad, which I find interesting.


Tisha | 22 comments I know I'm a little late...but I'm just starting the book. I already really like it though!


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