In an age in which begetting sons was all that mattered and queens rose and fell on the sex of their child, these three girls with royal Tudor blood lived under the dangerous whims of parents with a passion for gambling. The stakes they would wager: their daughters' lives against rampant ambition".
In stores as of August 2nd 2011, check it out on Amazon: Three Maids for a Crown: A Novel of the Grey Sisters
IN THE SHADOW OF THE AXE:
THE SISTERS OF LADY JANE GREY by Ella March Chase
“Lady Jane Grey had sisters and one of them was a dwarf!” I don’t even think I bothered to say ‘hello’ when I called my critique partner, Susan Carroll, with the news. Susan is used to calls like this. We still laugh over the story of the time I called her at midnight to tell her that when Charles II was a boy he took a stick of wood to bed with him like a binkie. If researching is a forest, I’m the kid that’s always wandering off of the path chasing a pretty butterfly (or a grisly one, in some cases. It is Tudor England!)
In my defense, I was ‘on task’ when I discovered my beloved Grey sisters. While researching Queen Elizabeth’s ladies for my first historical novel, The Virgin Queen’s Daughter, I stumbled across the delicious historical tidbit that Katherine and Mary Grey served as Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor. Even more interesting: Elizabeth hated them-- understandable since the Greys tried to knock Elizabeth and Queen Mary out of the succession. But the Grey sisters had even more drama to offer: In the years prior to Elizabeth mounting the throne, Katherine and Mary Grey waited on ‘Bloody Mary’. The whole time Lady Jane was imprisoned in the Tower of London, all through Jane’s trial and after she was condemned Lady Katherine Grey was serving as a Lady of the Bedchamber, attending to Queen Mary’s most intimate needs. As England’s outrage over the queen’s proposed marriage to Philip of Spain grew, Katherine would have witnessed the unrest. She was attending Queen Mary during the Wyatt rebellion and could hear the cannon fire of the rebel army across the Thames in Southwark. Queen Mary’s household knew the Grey sisters’ father was involved in the plot. Imagine what it would have been like to be trapped behind palace walls at the mercy of the Queen your father is determined to overthrow.
|Lady Jane Grey Preparing for Execution by George Whiting Flagg|
|Lady Catherine Grey|
|Lady Mary Grey|
Perhaps it was fate that led me to these three women from another time when I needed them most. In a time of great personal upheaval—both dark and bright-- their courage and determination to stay true to their own inner compass inspired me, encouraged me. The lessons they taught: To grasp every drop of happiness that you can and never take love for granted. Especially the love of your siblings. They are your first friends, your first rivals. They know your faults, share your history, know you in ways no one else ever can. In the best of times and the worst of times that love is one of the forces that will carry you through storms to the other side.
For more on Ella March Chase check out her website.
Thank you Ella for the lovely guest post on the three Grey sisters. I encourage Tudor lovers out there to check out this amazing novel and explore a new prospective on the Tudor court of England.