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In the second novel from Ella March Chase, we meet sixteen-year-old Jane Grey, a quiet and obedient young lady destined to become the shortest reigning English monarch. Her beautiful middle sister Katherine Grey charms all the right people--until loyalties shift. And finally Lady Mary Grey, a dwarf with a twisted spine whose goal is simply to protect people she loves--but at a terrible cost.
 
In an age in which begetting sons was all that mattered and queens rose and fell on the sex of their child, these three girls with royal Tudor blood lived under the dangerous whims of parents with a passion for gambling. The stakes they would wager: their daughters' lives against rampant ambition.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Crown Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780307588999
List price: $9.99
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I’m always happy to find historical fiction about the Tudors, that isn’t about Henry or Elizabeth, and I think this book falls in that category. I actually read it as part of a book club, otherwise I probably would have missed it. The book tells the story of the Grey sisters, the granddaughters of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon. I was only vaguely familiar with Frances Gray, their mother, and out of the three sisters I was only familiar with Jane Grey, for obvious reasons as well as Helena Boham Carter’s movie Lady Jane (which I recommend!). Because the movie romanticized Jane’s life so much, I was very shocked in the beginning of the book. I knew how Jane would end, but knowing how miserable she was even before her death was simply heartbreaking.When it comes to the book, I can say I found the writer’s attempt too ambicitious. The story is told from Jane’s, Katherine’s and Mary’s point of view, but when putting down the book and picking it up I found myself guessing who’s point of view I was reading. It’s hard to distinguish who is the narrator because the girls voices are not to different from each other. I think a simple third person narration would have been better. In terms of pacing, I found myself very engaged in the last half of the book, particularly with Katherine and Ned Seymour’s story. However, I can’t say the book is ‘unputabledown’, especially for those that are even more familiar with the story than I was. The story did show me a side of Elizabeth I (a very unflattering one, if I may add) that I wasn’t familiar with, as well, I was completely sadden by how all three sisters ended up (what made it worse was how it’s pretty much all true!). That said, I recommend this book (for those Tudor lovers out there) with reservations.more
This is a really good read, whether you are a fan of historical fiction or not. I had heard of the story of Lady Jane Grey, but I never knew she had two sisters, Kat and Mary. The three sisters were all threats to the throne due to their royal blood and the scheming plans of their parents to place them on the throne.What I really liked was that it was told from the three perspectives of each sister. Sections were labeled with their name, location and their age at the time. It was pretty amazing to know that the events in the story really took place. Jane, Kat and Mary all had tragedy and sorrow in their life just because of their royal blood and the feelings of unrest from the people over the Queen Mary and later, the Queen Elizabeth. So for most of the sister's lives, prominent figures wanted them to rule over the other queens.I also was glad to see the Author's Note at the end of the book where the author gave us a follow-up on how things ended. She also wrote that she only changed the story in one section and how the majority of the book was taken from historical facts with character embellishment.I would definitely recommend this book.more
Author Ella March Chase follows up her debut novel, The Virgin Queen's Daughter, with Three Maids for a Crown, another novel that takes readers back to Tudor-period England, this time focusing on the three Grey sisters who were the grand-nieces of Henry VIII. The three sisters -Jane, Mary and Katherine -were marked from birth as key pawns in the complex political world, all because they carried Tudor blood in their veins through their mother, Frances Grey, the daughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary. From the beginning the girls' parents and other nobles conspired to use them as part of their plots to take power. And as Edward VI's regain was coming to an end (Henry VIII's son), it became more apparent that the sisters' worth was about to sky rocket. Jane, being the eldest, was the natural frontrunner, and was elevated to the throne -and then just as quick pulled down. Branded a traitor instead of a royal, the conflict sends shock waves through the Grey family. Mary, always the charming and sweet one, worries about her marriage prospects and Katherine, a dwarf who was born with a twisted spine, finds herself spurned with a potential lover.The tale of the Grey sisters is a fascinating one that paints a unique picture of women during the period, as well as how political plots helped elevate -and destroy families. However, I did not think that Chase did the story the kind of justice it deserves -let me back up for a moment. I've read a couple of historical fiction novels about Lady Jane Grey, and thus far the "best of" award goes to Alison Weir's Innocent Traitor. And, sadly, Chase's novel just doesn't stand up to this book -or others.In fact, I would outright say that I was somewhat disappointed in Three Maids for a Crown. After loving Chase's first novel, I was set to enjoy every aspect of Three Maids, and was completely drawn in by the story of the Grey sisters -but it just did not deliver. Something about the writing just didn't seem as crisp as Virgin Queen's Daughter, and the story itself was just not as intriguing and the characters hazier and not as believable. It was especially difficult for me to discern between the different characters when it switched POV -they all sounded the same to me.Three Maids wasn't a complete loss, but it wasn't a great read either and something of a disappointment after the first Chase novel.more
The Grey sisters were descendants of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary, once queen of France, who made a runaway marriage with one of Henry's noblemen after her royal husband's death. The sisters were prey to the powerful and ambitious, including their own parents, who envisioned ruling England through them. Unfortunately, Henry's daughters Mary and Elizabeth stood in the way. The story is narrated in alternating turns from the sisters' points of view. Jane, the eldest, a staunch Protestant, scholarly and sober, is forced into a repugnant marriage and then into a treasonous bid for the throne. Her cousin Mary's right to rule, however, is upheld by the common people of England and Jane's rule lasts only nine days. She ends up on the block. Pretty Katherine, the middle sister, has dreams of ruling that focus more on the trappings than the reality. Once Elizabeth becomes queen, Kat contracts a runaway marriage like her grandmother's, convinced that Elizabeth can't keep her apart from her husband forever. And Mary, the youngest and least-favored, hangs on the fringes of court for years until she makes her own bid for happiness.It's not a cheerful story, but Ella March Chase stays true to historical events while imagining the actions and emotions of the sisters.more
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Reviews

I’m always happy to find historical fiction about the Tudors, that isn’t about Henry or Elizabeth, and I think this book falls in that category. I actually read it as part of a book club, otherwise I probably would have missed it. The book tells the story of the Grey sisters, the granddaughters of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon. I was only vaguely familiar with Frances Gray, their mother, and out of the three sisters I was only familiar with Jane Grey, for obvious reasons as well as Helena Boham Carter’s movie Lady Jane (which I recommend!). Because the movie romanticized Jane’s life so much, I was very shocked in the beginning of the book. I knew how Jane would end, but knowing how miserable she was even before her death was simply heartbreaking.When it comes to the book, I can say I found the writer’s attempt too ambicitious. The story is told from Jane’s, Katherine’s and Mary’s point of view, but when putting down the book and picking it up I found myself guessing who’s point of view I was reading. It’s hard to distinguish who is the narrator because the girls voices are not to different from each other. I think a simple third person narration would have been better. In terms of pacing, I found myself very engaged in the last half of the book, particularly with Katherine and Ned Seymour’s story. However, I can’t say the book is ‘unputabledown’, especially for those that are even more familiar with the story than I was. The story did show me a side of Elizabeth I (a very unflattering one, if I may add) that I wasn’t familiar with, as well, I was completely sadden by how all three sisters ended up (what made it worse was how it’s pretty much all true!). That said, I recommend this book (for those Tudor lovers out there) with reservations.more
This is a really good read, whether you are a fan of historical fiction or not. I had heard of the story of Lady Jane Grey, but I never knew she had two sisters, Kat and Mary. The three sisters were all threats to the throne due to their royal blood and the scheming plans of their parents to place them on the throne.What I really liked was that it was told from the three perspectives of each sister. Sections were labeled with their name, location and their age at the time. It was pretty amazing to know that the events in the story really took place. Jane, Kat and Mary all had tragedy and sorrow in their life just because of their royal blood and the feelings of unrest from the people over the Queen Mary and later, the Queen Elizabeth. So for most of the sister's lives, prominent figures wanted them to rule over the other queens.I also was glad to see the Author's Note at the end of the book where the author gave us a follow-up on how things ended. She also wrote that she only changed the story in one section and how the majority of the book was taken from historical facts with character embellishment.I would definitely recommend this book.more
Author Ella March Chase follows up her debut novel, The Virgin Queen's Daughter, with Three Maids for a Crown, another novel that takes readers back to Tudor-period England, this time focusing on the three Grey sisters who were the grand-nieces of Henry VIII. The three sisters -Jane, Mary and Katherine -were marked from birth as key pawns in the complex political world, all because they carried Tudor blood in their veins through their mother, Frances Grey, the daughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary. From the beginning the girls' parents and other nobles conspired to use them as part of their plots to take power. And as Edward VI's regain was coming to an end (Henry VIII's son), it became more apparent that the sisters' worth was about to sky rocket. Jane, being the eldest, was the natural frontrunner, and was elevated to the throne -and then just as quick pulled down. Branded a traitor instead of a royal, the conflict sends shock waves through the Grey family. Mary, always the charming and sweet one, worries about her marriage prospects and Katherine, a dwarf who was born with a twisted spine, finds herself spurned with a potential lover.The tale of the Grey sisters is a fascinating one that paints a unique picture of women during the period, as well as how political plots helped elevate -and destroy families. However, I did not think that Chase did the story the kind of justice it deserves -let me back up for a moment. I've read a couple of historical fiction novels about Lady Jane Grey, and thus far the "best of" award goes to Alison Weir's Innocent Traitor. And, sadly, Chase's novel just doesn't stand up to this book -or others.In fact, I would outright say that I was somewhat disappointed in Three Maids for a Crown. After loving Chase's first novel, I was set to enjoy every aspect of Three Maids, and was completely drawn in by the story of the Grey sisters -but it just did not deliver. Something about the writing just didn't seem as crisp as Virgin Queen's Daughter, and the story itself was just not as intriguing and the characters hazier and not as believable. It was especially difficult for me to discern between the different characters when it switched POV -they all sounded the same to me.Three Maids wasn't a complete loss, but it wasn't a great read either and something of a disappointment after the first Chase novel.more
The Grey sisters were descendants of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary, once queen of France, who made a runaway marriage with one of Henry's noblemen after her royal husband's death. The sisters were prey to the powerful and ambitious, including their own parents, who envisioned ruling England through them. Unfortunately, Henry's daughters Mary and Elizabeth stood in the way. The story is narrated in alternating turns from the sisters' points of view. Jane, the eldest, a staunch Protestant, scholarly and sober, is forced into a repugnant marriage and then into a treasonous bid for the throne. Her cousin Mary's right to rule, however, is upheld by the common people of England and Jane's rule lasts only nine days. She ends up on the block. Pretty Katherine, the middle sister, has dreams of ruling that focus more on the trappings than the reality. Once Elizabeth becomes queen, Kat contracts a runaway marriage like her grandmother's, convinced that Elizabeth can't keep her apart from her husband forever. And Mary, the youngest and least-favored, hangs on the fringes of court for years until she makes her own bid for happiness.It's not a cheerful story, but Ella March Chase stays true to historical events while imagining the actions and emotions of the sisters.more
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