Review: Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Title: Raven Queen
Author:  Pauline Francis
Genre:  Historical Novel, Young Adult
Publisher:  Usborne (12th February 2007)
Source: Local library

I have lived the life of a princess since the day I was born. But it did not bring me what I wanted. I am still trapped.

My beloved Ned speaks of love, freedom, a future. To walk with him in the forest, our raven soaring above us, is my only joy. But my father plans that I shall be betrothed to the King and I am afraid. Queens of England have a habit of dying. I have no desire to take the throne, no wish to find myself in the Tower of London.

Wife, Queen – I fear it will bring me to my knees.

Raven Queen weaves a mesmerising take of love and tragedy based on the life of Lady Jane Grey, all too often remembered as just a line in a history book.

Rating: **
(2 stars)

Raven Queen tells the story of Lady Jane Grey.  Francis fictionalised the story in the book, and adds her own characters.

I picked this book up initially because I have always found the figure of Lady Jane Grey an interesting one. I thought it would be interested to read about her life, albeit in a fictionalized form. The story’s narration is shared by Jane and Ned. This works well as it allows us to know and see things that a single narrator would not. It is interesting to read the about Jane’s struggles, her relationship with her family, and how she ends up being The Nine Days’ Queen.

My greatest struggle with this book was I felt no draw to either the character of Jane or Ned. At no point in the story was I invested in what happened to them. As narrators they seemed distant on the page, and as characters in the story they were like ghosts. It is also difficult at times to tell how much time has passed between events, especially when the narrator changes and I found this disconcerting at times.

I liked how Francis handled the climax of the book, and then the ending itself. I thought this was masterfully done, and truly the best bit of the book. At this point, even knowing what was to come, I came the closest to sympathising with both Jane and Ned.

If you are interested in finding out more about Lady Jane Grey you can find some info out here.

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