The Lady of Misrule
By Suzannah Dunn
The new novel from the bestselling Suzannah Dunn whose historical novels have sold quarter of a million copies in the UK.
I saw her file it away: a good Catholic girl come to supervise her in her detention. Every girl in England, now, under the circumstances, made sure to be a good Catholic girl. Except her, of course. And, if only she knew it, me.
Escorting 'nine days queen' Lady Jane Grey across the Tower of London from throne room into imprisonment is Elizabeth Tilney, who surprised even herself by volunteering for the job. All Elizabeth knows is she's keen to be away from home, she could do with some breathing space. And anyway, it won't be for long: everyone knows Jane will go free as soon as the victorious new queen is crowned. Which is a good thing because the two sixteen-year-olds, cooped up together in a room in the Gentleman Gaoler's house, couldn't be less compatible. Protestant Jane is an icily self-composed idealist, and catholic Elizabeth is... well, anything but.
They are united though by their disdain for the seventeen-year-old to whom Jane has recently been married off: petulant, noisily-aggrieved Guildford Dudley, held prisoner in a neighbouring tower and keen to pursue his perogative of a daily walk with his wife.
As Jane's captivity extends into the increasingly turbulent last months of 1553, the two girls learn to live with each other, but Elizabeth finds herself drawn into the difficult relationship between the newlyweds. And when, at the turn of the year, events take an unexpected and dangerous direction, her newfound loyalties are put to the test.
Launched in 1990 with her debut novel, Darker Days Than Usual,Suzannah Dunn wrote a further 5 critically acclaimed contemporary novels, and a short story collection, published by Flamingo, before writing her first historical novel, The Queen of Subtleties, which was published in 2004. She has since written a further four bestselling historical novels, The Sixth Wife, The Queen's Sorrow, The Confession of Katherine Howard (a Richard & Judy pick in 2011) and The May Bride.
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- Publication date:
07 May 2015
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A wonderful novel, a skilful and moving reimagining of history — Kate Mosse
The narrator is a teenage girl, Elizabeth, a companion to Lady Jane Grey, who awaits her fate in the Tower of London after her failed coup. Elizabeth is a recognisable teenager; infuriating, hormonal and full of contradictions. What Dunn loses by forgoing sham authenticity, she gains in the fizz and wit of Elizabeth's voice. A fresh and enthralling take on a well-known tale — The Times
Jane's husband Guildford Dudley is another prisoner and it is his story that unexpectedly proves to be the most poignant element of this beautifully written novel — Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express
Poignant and beautifully written — Telegraph
Even knowing how it ends (in tears) doesn't spoil the tension of this superb piece of historical fiction — Kate Saunders, Saga magazine
It's not often that teen girls are allowed to tell their own stories, particularly in history. But Dunn has created a small window through which readers can experience the fictionalized fates of two young women immortalized in English history. Unpretentious and riveting, The Lady of Misrule puts a human face on one of history's most important footnotes — Paste Magazine