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Sisters of Treason

Sisters of Treason

A Novel

  • reading group guide
From the author of Queen’s Gambit, which People magazine called, “A must-read for Philippa Gregory fans,” a gripping historical novel about two sisters who tread as dangerously close to the crown as their tragic sister, Lady Jane Grey, executed after just nine days on the throne.

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Freemantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for.

From “a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction,” (People) Sisters of Treason brings to vivid life the perilous and romantic lives of two little known young women who played a major role in the complex politics of their day.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 448 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476703091 | 
  • July 2014
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Video

A Day in the Life of Author Elizabeth Fremantle

Spend a day at home with historical fiction author Elizabeth Fremantle reading, writing, and editing, surrounded by Tudor art and artifacts.

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Sisters of Treason includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Elizabeth Fremantle. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

After mere days on the English throne, sixteen-year-old Lady Jane Grey was overthrown and beheaded for treason. Her sisters, Katherine and Mary, must navigate the treacherous political intrigue first at the court of Queen Mary and then of Queen Elizabeth, guided by their close family friend, court painter Levina Teerlinc. Sisters of Treason is a compelling story of love and friendship, politics and tragedy in a gilded world where peril is ever present.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Sisters of Treason opens with Jane Grey’s execution. What portrait of Jane emerges from her brief appearance in the prologue and from the way other characters remember her? Even after her death, how does Jane continue to influence her sisters, as well as Frances and Levina?

2. “I have tried to understand why there was no letter for me,” thinks Mary Grey. “I am brimming with silent envy of Katherine . . . for being the one Jane chose to write to.” W see more

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About the Author

Elizabeth Fremantle
Photograph by Paola Pieroni

Elizabeth Fremantle

Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Sisters of Treason, Queen’s Gambit, and Watch the Lady, and has contributed to Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times (London), and other publications. She has also reviewed fiction for The Sunday Express. She lives in London, England.

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