Monday, March 16, 2015

A Vintage Reads YA Review: Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey


Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi, January 18, 2005. 192 pages. Published by HarperTeen. Source: bought/own.
I had freckles.
I had sandy hair. I was too short.
Would my feet even touch the ground if I sat on the throne?

These are the words of lady Jane Grey, as imagined by celebrated author Ann Rinaldi. Jane would become Queen of England for only nine days before being beheaded at the age of sixteen.

Here is a breathtaking story of English royalty with its pageantry, privilege, and surprising cruelty. As she did in her previous novel Mutiny's Daughter, Ms. Rinaldi uses powerful, evocative writing to bring to life a teenage girl caught in the grip of stirring times.
First Sentence:
I don't know what they are going to tell you about me.





Ann Rinaldi's Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey was an impulse buy on one of my trips to the library. I remembered enjoying A Break with Charity and really wanted to read another of her books; also the title of this one called to me. So, without reading more about it I took the plunge and bought it. Probably one of better impulse book purchases.

Since the title is insanely long I shall henceforth refer to it as: NDaQ.  The First things that captured my attention with NDaQ was Ann Rinaldi's writing and how different Lady Jane Grey was from what I expected (granted I didn't really know what to expect from LJG personality-wise).
   Yet, from the very beginning I found myself drawn to Lady Jane Grey's voice and how difficult life, according to Ms Rinaldi's depiction, must have been growing up within the court. One cannot help but wonder if she always suspected how here life would...well...end. What a fine line she had to walk between duty while trying to live her own life. Really this was a fantastic historical read that pulled me in.

As a reader, one of the things I enjoy most about historical fiction is seeing how different authors write about the same people and times. I'm always intrigued to see how each one will model the story and characters and what ways they'll make the story their own. That being said, I thought Ann Rinaldi did a wonderful job with the setting of the book and the times, turbulent as they were, that was 16th century Great Britain.
   While the setting was quite good, it was the characters and the author's vision of them that captured my attention. I really enjoyed the portrayal of Lady Jane Grey and the difficulties in which she lived. Even though I knew how it would end, I was still really enthralled by the writing and seeing her life play out. Though I admit it was still saddening when the book ended and you knew there would be no reprieve for her.

Good golly, Ann Rinaldi's writing! I mean this in a totally good way! It has been months since I read NDaQ and, yet, just writing this review has me thinking fondly of the writing and how much I enjoyed this one. I cannot say enough good things about her writing and how well she captures the characters, the intrigue and danger of court life, and the just everything. While this book is sad as can be, just look at the full title, it is one that I'm glad to have had the chance to read.

Final Verdict: Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey- Ann Rinaldi does not disappoint in telling the short life and reign of Lady Jane Grey. A fascinating look into the short life and times of Jane Grey.

Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey earns

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