Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

Pages: 554
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: October 2, 2012
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "England's Tower of London was the terrifying last stop for generations of English political prisoners. A Dangerous Inheritance weaves together the lives and fates of four of its youngest and most blameless: Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane's younger sister; Kate Plantagenet, an English princess who lived nearly a century before her; and Edward and Richard, the boy princes imprisoned by their ruthless uncle, Richard III, never to be heard from again. Across the years, these four young royals shared the same small rooms in their dark prison, as all four shared the unfortunate role of being perceived as threats to the reigning monarch." 
A Dangerous Inheritance pieces together the story of both Lady Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet.  What is most peculiar about this connection is that the two girls lived almost a century apart. Lady Katherine Grey is Lady Jane Grey's (you might know her from Weir's Innocent Traitor, a.k.a the Nine Days' Queen) younger sister.  Like many young women of her time, she is her family's chess piece in the much larger game to get to the throne.  Her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, views her as threat and when Lady Katherine upsets the Queen, she finds herself inside the Tower of London.  Kate Plantagenet, daughter of Richard III, has to deal with horrible rumors about her father on a daily basis. Need I say more?  And like Katherine, she falls in love with someone who is forbidden to her.  Both girls also show a deep interest in the fate of the Princes in the Tower; they are on a quest for some answers.  Alison Weir's latest historical read, A Dangerous Inheritance, is filled with entertaining historical details, court intrigue, lust, and of course, the sad realities of life for many women close to the throne.

I must admit that I preferred Lady Katherine's story to Kate's and was immediately enthralled with her storyline.  I couldn't believe the horrible things that Lady Katherine had to go through, namely, the death of her sister and father as well as her unfair imprisonment.  I can recognize that Lady Katherine is extremely impulsive and I understood politically why Queen Elizabeth would view her as a threat, but ultimately, my empathy lied with Lady Katherine.  

Kate Plantagent's story was also interesting and as the story progressed, I realized that these two girls had more in common then I initially thought.  As Weir weaved her story's web, I had an a-ha moment.  I was pretty confused as to how the Princes in the Tower's story related to Lady Katherine and Kate's but trust in Weir; it will all make sense.

Although I liked how Weir interlaced the two girls' stories with the Princes, I felt it was lengthy and drawn out at times. A Dangerous Inheritance alternated between Lady Katherine's point of view and Kate's, which at times was tough and really drawn out. On the other hand, I needed to know what happened to the girls and this format prolonged my suspense.  Also, be forewarned that A Dangerous Inheritance is 500+ pages, which no doubt makes for a historically dense read.

If you are a fan of Weir and historical fiction, you can't go wrong with A Dangerous Inheritance.  However, I prefer some of Weir's other fictional reads over this one, such as Innocent Traitor.


  1. So far I would say I prefer Alison Weir's nonfiction to her novels. I am fascinated by the story of Lady Jane Grey and don't know much about her sister. I thought she had a sister who was considered "mad" but it must not be Katherine. I didn't realize this book was actually about two different women. I will probably get this from the library to read sometime. I like that there is an element of mystery to it. Thanks for your review!

  2. I'm a big fan of historical fiction, but I have yet to read a book from Alison Weir. This one sounds really good - and wow, that are a lot of pages ;). I think I need to get started in one of her books to see how I like it, before I start in this one. I also really like the cover! Thanks for the informative review.


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