The novel follows two young women Katherine Grey the sister of infamous Lady Jane Grey the Nine Days Queen and Katherine Plantagenet the illegitimate daughter of King Richard III. Almost a century apart between, their life stories have many similarities. They both fight for the right to marry the men they love and to reveal the truth about their loved ones. While Katherine Grey struggles to untangle the knot of court intrigues that led her dear sister to the scaffold, Kate Plantagenet tries to clear her father’s name and prove that he didn’t order to kill the young princes in the Tower. They both felt alone against the world, the outsiders, and struggle to stand up for their beliefs in those difficult times. Katherine Grey finds herself standing up against the most powerful woman in England, Queen Elizabeth I, who does everything to make Katherine’s life miserable. Kate Plantagenet has to stand up against the whole country that believes that her father Richard is a usurper and a murderer.
Although I enjoyed this novel most of the time, I felt I was reading back and forward two different books. I don’t think it was necessary to combine the two stories in one thick book. The two plotlines somehow connect through the mysterious magical visions that both Katherine’s have about each other. Separated by more than a century they feel each other’s presence. I honestly thought it was unnecessary detail, didn’t add much to the story except the fact that Katherine Grey researched Kate’s story. In addition, you can clearly see the authors view on King Richard’s story. I personally don’t think he murdered the princes and I was grinding my teeth when the author was telling us how horrible he was. Ouch…
Overall, I enjoyed the novel, mostly Kate’s part because I never read anything about her and the story really captivated me. I really liked her as a character, while Katherine Grey was portrayed as a bit spoiled and childish. After witnessing everything that happened to her sister Jane, I’m surprised she didn’t make any conclusions. I think a sensible person would try to stay as far possible from all the court intrigues. That part made a little sense to me. Although you can notice a lot of character development of both protagonists. I really like Alison Weir’s writing, very lively, bright and emotional. All the historical figures feel realistic and you immediately want to do your own research and to see what was real and what the author’s imagination was. I would definitely be reading more books by Alison Weir.