The Tower of London is a dark and sinister place. Katherine Grey is happily married alongside her sister, Jane, at the beginning of Jane's short reign. Jane's fall brings the end of Katherine's marriage, as no one wants to be married to a traitor's sister. Katherine's heartbreak is mended a bit after she is brought to Elizabeth's court as the unofficial heir to the throne.
Katherine's story runs parallel to Kate Plantagenet's story. The bastard daughter of Richard III, Kate is loved by her father, stepfather and cousin. Her father takes the throne, and vicious rumors spread about how exactly he obtained the throne. Kate watches helplessly as her father changes from a gentle loving father to a ruthless and suspicious king. Desiring to clear her father's name and her conscience, Kate tries to find the true fate of her cousins that were held in the Tower.
Katherine Grey finds herself in the Tower after marrying without Elizabeth's permission. With a child on the way, untrusting Elizabeth knows she poses a threat. Kate's questions over the fate of the Princes, as well as her correspondence with the traitorous Earl of Lincoln, her one time lover, lead her to the Tower of London. There not even her husband will support her.
Both women soon learn that Royal Blood doesn't guarantee safety.
While I have several of Weir's novels on my TBR shelf, this is the first of her novels I've read. Set during the reigns of Richard III and Elizabeth I, this novelties the lives of two girls together. Though I am familiar with Katherine Grey, Kate was a new character that I had never even thought of. Both girls are undeserving of their fate. Katherine is a girl who wants to do right by her family. Though her family has fallen on hard times, Katherine still believes she will be crowned Queen after Elizabeth. Katherine is unlucky in love and languishes in the Tower, though her lover is close. Kate, however, seems to have it worse. Daughter of a Traitor, she is married to a man who desired to be close to the Throne. Never loving Kate, his cruelty increases after Kate has lost her royal connections. Abandoned, she gambles with her conscience, her father's reputation and her life. In the end, both girls have a lot in common. Weir leaves the Tower shrouded in mystery, but spins an amazing story of two girls lost to history. Very highly recommended.