Image of Three Maids for a Crown: A Novel of the Grey Sisters


Image of Three Maids for a Crown: A Novel of the Grey Sisters

Henry VIII’s six wives are well known to readers as is Lady Jane Grey, but what about Jane’s two sisters, Katherine and Mary? Chase illuminates the short time between Henry VIII’s death, his son Edward’s reign (Edward’s declaration of Jane as queen) and Princess Mary’s ascension to the throne with all the deep intrigues, power plays, politics and passions of that turbulent era. Chase gives each sister a strong and distinct voice as they tell the story from their unique points of view and readers glimpse what life was like for women on the cusp of power. Feminists and history lovers will savor this powerful story.

The Grey sisters have a legitimate claim to the English throne through Henry VIII’s grandmother, but none of them believe they will become queen. However, Jane’s parents seize the opportunity when Edward dies without declaring an heir. Lady Jane is queen for nine days before Mary Tudor’s forces take the throne. Sweet, quiet newlywed Jane is thrust into the Tower, tried for treason and beheaded. Her sister Katherine, two years younger, and Mary, youngest and a dwarf, are pushed into the role of ladies-in-waiting to Mary, as the mentally unbalanced Mary wishes to keep a close eye on her enemies. After Mary’s death Elizabeth ascends to the throne. Like her sister, she is wary. There maybe plots afoot to once again place a Grey on the throne. She monitors Katherine carefully while posing as a kind monarch and ridiculing her behind closed doors. But Katherine is strong and though she comes close to a movement to claim the crown she risks more to claim the man she loves. Then there is Mary, who makes up for her lack of height with courage even Elizabeth can admire. It is Mary who becomes the strongest of the Grey sisters; the one to almost bring down a court. (BROADWAY, Aug., 412 pp., $15.00)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin