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Summary ~ Reviews ~ Excerpt

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre New Editions of Our Choice Favourites 2006

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice 1987/88


Fifteen-year-old Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England for only nine days before being found guilty of treason. Guilty, even though she had never wanted to become Queen. Now she faces the executioner’s axe

Scholastic Canada, 1986, 2005 ISBN 0-439-96102-5


Resource Links, April 2006

“Part of the Beneath the Crown Series, this book turns historical facts into an interesting story. Lady Jane Grey was a cousin to newly crowned Edward, only son of Henry VIII. They were the same age and had played together as children. In an age where politics and intrigue ruled who would remain on the throne, it was their supreme misfortune to be children led by the ambitious dukes and other minor royalty of the time. “Jane had no aspirations to the throne. She merely wanted to marry a friend of King Edward’s and live her life in peace. Through Bradford’s skilful handling of the complexities of this time, we come to understand how her parents’ plotting, her cousin’s illness and the people’s religious leanings were all manipulated to create the position Jane at the age of 16, found herself in. She was forced to marry against her wishes, forced to accept the throne and forced to live a life she did not want. Of course, her cousin Mary, who would become known as ‘Bloody Mary’ was also put in the position where she could not pardon Jane, either, and Jane was beheaded shortly after she became Queen Mary. “This novel will appeal to students who are interested in the ‘whys’ of history, not just the facts. Jane appears to us a a real girl, with real hopes and dreams. At the end of the book, Karleen Bradford talks about how her research led her to walk in the footsteps of Lady Jane and how it felt to be in the Tower of London. Her obvious emotion while writing this will encourage the storytellers among your students to keep writing.”

Review by Susan Miller

CM Magazine

“This title is surely the kind of material with which to convince young readers who reject historical fiction that, after all, they are missing something very, very good.”

Reviewed by Joan McGrath

The Reviewing Librarian

“This beautifully wrought historical novel...will provide young adult readers with a depiction of the intrigues of the English court in the middle of the sixteenth century as well as a sensitive depiction of the strength of Lady Jane Grey, caught in a scramble for power she despises but cannot escape.”

Children’s Choices 5-2

“A vivid historical drama...”

“The book kept my attention and it made me cry and not many books can do that.” Reader #1715, 13 year old girl.

“It made me cry and laugh and I learned a lot.” Reader #1667, 12 year old girl.

“I liked the portrayal of life back then.” Reader #1247, 16 year old boy.

Canadian Children’s Literature, 48 1987

“Bradford makes history come will be of great interest to children between the ages of nine to sixteen - and I recommend its use in junior high school. It will also be enjoyed by those of us, children at heart, who simply enjoy a good story.”

Reviewed by Marjory Body

Children’s Book News

“The fate of Lady Jane Grey is known today, yet her story is a compelling one which is revealed with liveliness and compassion by Karleen Bradford in this historical novel for young readers.”

Quill & Quire

“The Nine Days Queen is a fictionalized biography of Lady Jane Grey, who was queen of England for nine days in 1553, in between Edward VI and Queen Mary. Jane matures from an obedient nine year old into a 16 year old with a will of her own and brains to boot.”

Reviewed by Annette Goldsmith

Globe & Mail

“A suspenseful tale of terror, keenly realized by Bradford in her first historical fiction.”

Reviewed by Tim Wynne-Jones


February 12, 1554

The upstairs window of the narrow house on Tower Green was small and the glass of poor quality, giving a wavy picture of the view beyond. Nevertheless, Jane could see the scaffold that had been erected on the Green very clearly. It was draped in black cloth, and in the centre of it, surrounded by straw, was the stone that would serve as the executioner’s block. There were four steps leading up to it.

In less than two hours, just weeks after her sixteenth birthday, Jane would be walking up those steps, kneeling, and laying her head on that block, her neck bare to the executioner’s axe - guilty of treason in the highest measure against her grace, Queen Mary. Seven months ago it had been Jane who was queen: Queen Jane of England. But only for nine days.

And before that?

Before that she had been Lady Jane Grey, a child, content and secure at Bradgate Park, with a small tower room of her own filled with books, and time to write, and deer to walk amongst and pet in the rolling, forested park that surround the Manor House.

It seemed so long ago...