Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on A Dangerous Inheritance.
In A Dangerous Inheritance, Weir masterfully intertwines the fates of Katherine (Kate) Plantagenet and Katherine Grey, two women of royal blood living in different time periods who have much more in common besides their first name. Kate is the daughter of Richard III, who usurped his nephew’s throne and is suspected of having him and his brother murdered in the Tower of London. Katherine Grey is the younger sister of Jane Grey, who usurped Queen Mary’s throne after the death of Edward VI.
Kate Plantagenet’s story begins in 1483, shortly before Richard of Gloucester becomes Richard III. Despite being baseborn, she lives a charmed life and is close with her father. Shortly after he takes the throne, Kate begins to hear rumors that he murdered the Princes in the Tower so that he could secure his claim to the throne. She refuses to believe such slanders, but when her stepmother, Queen Anne, starts to question Richard’s role in the princes’ disappearance, Kate begins to wonder if the rumors are true.
Two years later, Richard is killed by Henry Tudor (who becomes Henry VII) at the Battle of Bosworth. Kate’s loyalty to her father, and her quest to learn the fate the two princes so she can clear his name, make her the enemy of Henry VII. She begins to record what she knows about the princes’ disappearance in hopes of unraveling the mystery.
Eighty-five years later, before Jane Grey becomes the Nine Days’ Queen, her sister Katherine finds some old papers that once belonged to Kate Plantagenet. This sparks her interest in the story of the Princes in the Tower. But it isn’t long before Katherine finds herself caught up in political intrigue, with her family trying to secure Jane on the throne, and the fate of the princes is put out of her mind.
After her sister’s downfall, Katherine becomes close to her cousin, Queen Mary. The queen even considers Katherine as a possible successor to her throne. Once Elizabeth I is queen, she constantly feels threatened by anyone who has a claim to her throne, and Katherine becomes her enemy. When Katherine marries the man she loves without the queen’s permission, she is imprisoned in the Tower. She soon finds herself engrossed once again in the mystery of the two princes, feeling that their fate is somehow linked to her own, because they threatened Richard’s claim to the throne as much as she threatens Elizabeth’s.
The women are separated by time but linked by many similarities. Weir helps set the stories apart by writing Kate’s in the third person and Katherine’s in first person. It is interesting to note that little is actually known about Kate Plantagenet, so the third-person perspective keeps the reader at more of a distance. Katherine Grey’s story, which is based on historical sources, is told in a more intimate manner that draws the reader closer.
Both women’s stories are engaging and dramatic, with court intrigues, lost loves, broken hearts and betrayals. A Dangerous Inheritance is a worthy read for any historical fiction fan, but Tudor history fans may especially appreciate the attention to detail. This is another fantastic book from Alison Weir.