Thursday, 30 September 2010

Before They Were Famous: Lady Jane Grey – Queen for Sale

Before They Were Famous: Lady Jane Grey – Queen for Sale by Caroline Corby (Walker Books)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9781406312553
Reviewed by Heather Zubek

You think you know your history. I only knew Lady Jane Grey as a delightful fruity tea to enjoy with milk in the afternoon but after reading Caroline Corby’s book Lady Jane Grey – Queen for Sale I have new respect for my afternoon cuppa. The series Before They Were Famous tells the story of historical figures before they become famous. Other figures in the series include Boudica, Cleopatra, William the Conqueror, Julius Caesar and Pocahontas.

Lady Jane Grey: Queen for Sale is the story of a young Tudor girl destined to become Queen without her blessing. At just nine years old young Jane becomes part of a ‘get rich quick’ scheme by her conniving parents. She is actually sold to a variety of families and is destined to become queen through the marriage to a ‘sniveling ponce’. The reader learns so much of Britain at the time of Henry VIII and of the trickery and cruelty that was sometimes inflicted on innocent people. We begin to feel for Lady Jane and even though it is history we are still shocked at the conclusion of the story. This is not fiction so it’s not ‘happily ever after.’

Caroline Corby sets the scene well in her story and portrays her characters convincingly through thorough research. The series is described as ‘biographical adventures’ so it’s not known how much is actually factual. The author completes Lady Jane Grey – Queen for Sale with a series of notes. The Authors Notes looks at the research conducted and the Notes from the Past gives an insight into daily life during Tudor England. The book is recommended for readers aged 8 to 12 years however I would recommend it for mature 8 year old readers as the reality of life in Tudor England could be quite confronting.

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