This book covers an extremely complex bit of history, so I will try to keep this as short and sweet as possible. We all know about Henry VIII and out of six wives he had one son, Edward, and two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Henry's favorite sister Mary had a daughter Frances who in turn had three daughters - Jane, Katherine and Mary. Upon the death of Edward, well that is when things get complicated as those three sisters (or more specifically any sons they might bear) were potential heirs to the throne of England.Most Tudorphiles are familiar with the eldest daughter Jane, who becomes the Nine Day Queen and her tragic end. What's refreshing in this book is that Lisle also shows us *the rest of the story* of the younger sisters Katherine and Mary, who as potential heirs to the throne are unable to marry without the Queen's permission – and Elizabeth was not about to give it and let them have sons who could threaten her crown. Katherine comes to court to serve Elizabeth and falls in love with Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, but without Elizabeth’s permission to marry so they do so in secret, although the lovers face the Queen's wrath when the marriage is discovered. Years later a grown Mary arrives at court and she incurs the Queen's anger when she also marries in secret. And that's about as far as I'll go, if you know the basic history you know where the rest of the story goes and if you don't, well then read it for yourself. Lisle does a great job of breaking down some old myths (no, Frances wasn't quite the power hungry harridan she's always been portrayed as) as well as breaking new ground with solid facts and research and puts it all together in a very readable book. It was a tad bit dry at first (I don't normally read non-fiction) but once we got into Katherine and Mary's stories I was hooked and had a hard time putting it down.