Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir (audio)

Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir
Read by: Stina Nielsen, Davina Porter, Bianca Amato, Jenny Sterlin, Jill Tanner, Gerard Doyle, & Robert Ian Mackenzie
Recorded Books, LLC
Length: 18.25 hours
Source: Library

New York Times best-selling author Alison Weir has earned her reputation as the preeminent historian of British royalty. Now with Innocent Traitor, Weir utilizes her vast knowledge and captivating narrative style to craft her first historical novel, choosing Lady Jane Grey - the most sympathetic heroine of Tudor England - as her enthralling subject.

The child of a scheming father and ruthless mother, Jane is born during a time when ambition dictates action. Cousin to Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I, she is merely a pawn in a political and religious game where one false step means certain demise. But Lady Jane has remarkable qualities that help her withstand the constant pressures of the royal machinery far better than any person could be expected to do.

Weir's striking novel sweeps readers back through the centuries to witness first-hand one of the most poignant tales from a time of constant scheming and power brokering.

My thoughts: This is the second audiobook I've listened to by Alison Weir and I am definitely a fan. I've read/listened to a lot of historical fiction surrounding the Tudors and so am pretty familiar with all the major players. I've always been intrigued by Jane Grey and so couldn't resist picking up this book.

Lady Jane Grey was queen for just over a week and was a put in that position unwillingly.  This book tells the tale of her short life, told from the perspectives of those around her. Wanting only a quiet life with her books, she was eventually put to death because of those who supposedly had her best interests at heart - or was it really their best interests? 

I love reading/listening to the tales of the royals during this time. It often makes me wonder why someone would want to be put in such a high position? I am also amazed at what people are willing to do to attain high favor - case in point, Jane's parents. They forced her hand in a marriage that turned into an abusive relationship all so they could further their own ambitions. 

I love when authors create characters that are so likeable while they also create characters that are just as dis-likeable. In this case, Lady Jane Grey is a very likeable character - she's quite smart for her age and you can tell that she is as true to herself as she can be. Her mother, the Duchess of Suffolk, was a dis-likeable character. She was all about her own ambition and used her daughter as she saw fit.

I'm not sure there will ever be a time when I say I've had enough of Tudor fiction. I think each author brings to the table their own perspectives and thus we are able to put together a richer picture of all the players involved. 

Audio thoughts: I loved the cast of narrators that read this book. I don't typically end up listening to books with multiple narrators - not because I don't like them, but because most of the books I pick tend to have one narrator. The cast in this case seemed to enhance the listening experience, in my opinion. Alternating between the different character's points of view, we were able to really understand what was happening, and it helped moved the story along, especially considering the length (18.5 hours). Plus, they were all new to me, so now I will be on the hunt to see what else they have done.

Do you prefer single narrators or a cast of narrators when listening to an audiobook? Is there a case when one is better than the other?



  1. Kristin, it's nice to enjoy a genre so much. Multiple narrators would seem to work well here. Imagine being a (real) queen for just about a week!

    1. Yes, in this case, the cast of narrators worked well here. I don't think I could handle it...being queen - way too much pressure!

  2. This sounds like a really good book! I've read The Other Boleyn Girl and have the first and third book in that series by Phillipa Gregory waiting for me at home. I really enjoyed it and I can't wait to read the others. I've just recently become interested in reading about Tudor England, so this sounds like a good one to read! I've also never listened to an audio book before - not sure if I'll like it but I want to try some day (:

    1. It was a very good book. I also listened to another of her books - The Lady Elizabeth - which was very good, too! I would suggest trying an easier book as your first audio book, though!

  3. I bet Davina Porter did her parts fantastically! I love, love her. Multiple narrators are not a deal breaker for me. I will listen to anything.

  4. great trailer! thanks!

  5. I'd like to get a chance to listen to an audiobook with a full cast, but single narrators do seem to be more common. I'm glad to hear you liked the experience in this case :)


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