Kaye's Reviews > Innocent Traitor

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
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really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, books-read-in-2013, historical-fiction, hist-16th-17th-centuries, books-read-in-2016
Recommended for: Anyone who likes Tudor-era fiction
Read 2 times. Last read June 28, 2016 to July 5, 2016.

First reading: August 26--September 9, 2013.
4 stars (story)
4.5 stars (audiobook)

Read by: Stina Nielsen, Davina Porter, Bianca Amato, Jenny Sterlin, Jill Tanner, Gerard Doyle, & Robert Ian Mackenzie

This was a LOOOOONNNNNGGGGG look at the life of the Nine-Day Queen, Jane Grey, the traitor queen of England who was forced to take the crown at age 15/16 by men who wielded power like bludgeons during one of the most chaotic times in England's history.

I enjoyed this book much more than I did The Lady Elizabeth, Weir's novelization of the childhood and youth of Elizabeth I. While that one betrayed Weir's experience as a nonfiction writer, this one read more like a Philippa Gregory novel---with multiple first-person viewpoints (much like my beloved The Boleyn Inheritance). And, much like the audio version of that Gregory novel, this one featured a different narrator for almost every viewpoint.

Because Jane Grey was so young for most of the book, it actually worked better to have the multiple viewpoint characters, since she was a passive player in most of what happened to her. It was good to get into the minds (in a fictional conjecture, of course) of the people behind the machinations that led, ultimately, to Jane's execution as a heretical traitor in February 1554.

Though I knew the story from the "outside" -- in that I knew the timeline and details of the historical occurrences -- it was interesting to get an "inside" look at the characters who are usually brushed aside as bit players in the transition from King Edward VI to Queen Mary I. Especially since I've recently read The Tudor Secret and The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner, which is a complete fictionalization of these events.

There isn't much in fiction that covers the lives (and "reigns) of both Edward VI and Jane Grey, so the subject matter was what drew me to this book. It was Weir's surprisingly deft handling of all of the characters that kept my interest throughout the 18+ hours of this audiobook (though, as with The Lady Elizabeth, I found that when she was unable to characterize Jane's youth through the prose--even at four years old, Jane came across as an adult, with an adult's vocabulary, reasoning, and understanding).

The only narrator I had any issue with was Stina Nielsen, who was the voice for Jane Grey's viewpoint. She had a tendency to pause at odd/awkward places in the middle of sentences, which made me have to run it back to figure out what the sentence was actually supposed to be saying, since the pauses chopped up the flow/meaning. She also had a tendency to mispronounce things/pronounce them oddly (such as saying tutor for Tudor). While this was annoying and would start getting on my nerves, invariably just when I was getting ready to turn it off, the viewpoint would switch to another character which meant another narrator.

I would have liked to have seen one last scene in the book--from Queen Mary's viewpoint, reacting to Jane's death. The end of the book, as it was for Jane, was too abrupt.
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Reading Progress

August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 26, 2013 – Shelved
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: audiobook
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: books-read-in-2013
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
February 23, 2014 – Shelved as: hist-16th-17th-centuries
June 28, 2016 – Started Reading
June 29, 2016 – Shelved as: books-read-in-2016
July 1, 2016 –
July 5, 2016 – Finished Reading
February 14, 2019 – Started Reading (Hardcover Edition)
February 14, 2019 – Shelved as: books-read-in-2019 (Hardcover Edition)
February 14, 2019 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
February 23, 2019 – Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I haven't read Weir's fiction but I'm curious about it...is this your first novel by her?

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