Title: A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower
Author: Alison Weir
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
The year is 1554. Lady Katherine Grey is so excited when her sister, Jane Grey, is proclaimed queen, but she doesn’t realize the danger her family is in by acting against the Lady Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. Intertwined with her story is that of Katherine Plantagenet, who lived almost 100 years before. Kate was the illegitimate daughter of Richard III, who usurped the throne from his nephews and may have had a hand in their disappearance.
On first glance, it’s difficult to see what Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet have in common besides their first names. But as A Dangerous Inheritance progresses, it becomes clear: They were both strong, independent women cursed by the doings of others. For Katherine, her family’s ambition in putting Jane on the throne of England meant that she would forever be in disgrace. For Kate, her father’s deeds would haunt her. It’s interesting to see both these women try their best to find happiness, against all odds, as their lives were marred again and again by tragedy.
Weir writes her two main characters in A Dangerous Inheritance very well. It’s easy to sympathize with both women as they are mistreated and reviled due to circumstances beyond their control. She made them realistic and human; it’s easy to understand why Kate is determined to believe the best in her father, regardless of the evidence, or why Katherine thinks that love should conquer all. The reader will cheer for both of them and hope that they will find what they so desperately seek.
Alison Weir was a historian before she was a fiction writer, and that shows in A Dangerous Inheritance. The details are absolutely impeccable, as is the research that must have gone into this novel. It never becomes bogged down or dry, and though it’s over 500 pages long, the pace is quick. It’s commendable that Weir managed to balance history, story, and characters so deftly, as she did a wonderful job making this an enjoyable, engaging novel that readers won’t want to put down.
If you’re looking for a historical read to immerse yourself in, A Dangerous Inheritance is a great choice. If you’re new to the time period, Weir includes enough information for you to understand what’s happening, yet the real treat is for those who have read other books set during these two time frames. It’s great to see these famed historical events from a fresh set of eyes; it lends a new perspective and, all in all, is a lot of fun to read.
Other books by Alison Weir: