The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory
“Learn you to die” is what Jane Grey tells her beloved sister Katherine Grey. For what I have learnt from this Philippa Gregory’s latest ‘The Last Tudor’ is that the irony of life is love and that of love is power.
‘The Last Tudor’ is the latest and final installment in the Tudor Novels by Gregory and charts the lives of the Grey sisters- Jane, Katherine and Mary, from 1550 to 1573. Gregory shows their journey through their marriages of convenience, their triumph of love, their strong faith, their joys and ultimately their will to live in one of the most turbulent eras of English history.
To begin with, the novel is written in a first person account and starts with Lady Jane Grey, portraying her strong belief in her faith, her understanding that she will have to marry not for love and her strong resolve for her beliefs. She is the older sister, always strict and scholarly. It is truly her novel.
The second sister Katherine, sweet, silly and looking for her prince charming, reinforces my belief in love. Her story highlights that love conquers all, but for power and insecurity, and in those days, no matter who your kith and kin, your life, however high born or noble, cannot come in the way of the throne.
Mary Grey, the last of the Grey siblings, is ignored because of her dwarfism, but has a unique quality of being resilient, something her older and much more dominant sisters lacked. She, for me is the strongest of them all, for she survives the death of all her family and yet continues to live, love and flourish.
My take away from this one –
1. Jane’s faith, her determination to be known by her faith till the very end. Her belief in her father’s resolve to free her. I truly felt for her as a daughter.
2. Katherine’s unconditional love and her tenacious effort of keeping her family, even in death.
3. Mary’s sheer confidence in herself, her love for herself and survival instincts.
The book can get slightly long-drawn as most historical novels do, but Philippa Gregory is known for her strong characterization, which you may like.
Pick this one for a weekend read, for some deep introspection of life, love and purpose... or if you just need to tell your sister that you love her!
P.S I kept getting very “Little Women” like feels throughout this one.