Innocent Traitor — My Review

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Everyone is familiar with the story of Henry VIII.  He had six wives, always looking for a Queen who would deliver to him a son.  In this pursuit, he had to get a divorce from his first wife, and that required eliminating the hold that the Catholic Church had on England.  He did have a son with his third wife, but this son, Edward, died when he was still a teenager.  Upon his death, England was still heavily divided into two camps: Protestants and Catholics.  Edward was a staunch Protestant.  His sister, Mary, the daughter of the first wife of Henry VIII, was a devout Catholic.  In order to ensure that the Catholic Church did not regain power in England, Edward named a cousin as his successor: Lady Jane Grey Dudley.  This book is her fictionalized story.

I sought out a book about Lady Jane Grey Dudley because her story was fascinating to me.  A girl!  Made Queen!  But only for a few days.  What happened? 

Innocent Traitor tells her story, but I think that the author, Alison Weir, had the priority of telling the story wrong.  We meet Jane the minute that she is born, and we follow her story year by year until she is sixteen.  I would have preferred to know less about what happened to her when she was four years old and more about those nine days when she was Queen. 

Those days were fascinating at the tide turned against her, but they are covered so quickly by Weir.  It is almost as if Weir was overwhelmed by the characters involved and so she skimmed heavily over those crucial days.  In one chapter she is the Queen.  In the next chapter she is a prisoner.  A book only about those nine days is probably more of what I was looking for — not a discussion on her education when she was twelve.


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