Wednesday, 11 February 2015
The Queen Is Dead.
Jane Grey is escorted by one Elizabeth Tilney "a good catholic girl" to imprisonment in The Tower Of London. Tilney is not appointed to this position, she volunteers for the duty, requiring for her own reasons a bit of distance from the tangle of her own life. A distance not normally attainable for a girl of her background or station in life. The two young women, barely more than girls, must find a common ground in order to share the space they find themselves thrust into. Catholic Elizabeth and Protestant Jane; not the cliched two sides of the same coin, more different currencies altogether.
To begin with all expect the young pretender to be released, that all accept in truth she is just a pawn in a struggle for power. This was a time when the game of thrones was played for real the price of failure was to lose ones head. A game where few hands were clean and innocence is a weakness.Suzannah Dunn really gets under the skin and into the contrary heart of Elizabeth Tilney, it is a very real voice that records the events as seen through those young eyes. It feels like an emotional unreliable narration at points built on the instinctive misdirection of a teenagers inflamed passions. In a world where children went from being children to adults in less time than it takes to read a red top newspaper. The author populates the rooms of The Tower Of London with what feels like realistic fictional ghosts, as all recreations of actual people are apt to feel in literature. For those who have been banging on the door of Wolf Hall this is a residence well worth a visit.
It is believed that Lady Jane Grey is the only English monarch in the last five hundred years of whom no portrait of proven authenticity exists. Physical descriptions alone remain. That young face existed only in the minds of those who saw her and in the memories of all who knew her.
For nine days only she was the Queen of England.
For over five hundred years she has looked back at us as if to say
I TOO WAS A QUEEN.
Yet we will never know her face.