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Jean Plaidy, renowned writer of historical fiction, who is also known to her legions of fans as Victoria Holt, wrote two books about the Tudor princesses. One is titled "The Thistle and the Rose" and is about Margaret Tudor, the older sister of King Henry VIII. This book takes a look at his younger sister, the beautiful, headstrong Mary, who was his favorite. The author, as always, weaves an interesting work of historical fiction gathered from the facts that are known about her subject.
The Princess Mary, in keeping with the traditions of the time, was not in control of own fate. Used as a political pawn through the rites of betrothal, she was finally married off to the sickly King of France, Louis XII, who was more than forty years her senior. Beautiful, vivacious, passionate about her feelings, and headstrong, the teenage Mary went kicking and screaming to the altar, as she was secretly in love with her brother's then best friend, Charles Brandon, a commoner whom King Henry VIII eventually elevated and upon whom he conferred the title of Duke of Suffolk. Before leaving for France, Mary extracted a promise from her brother that he would allow her to marry whom she chose the second time around.
Comforted by her brother's promise, Mary would make the most of her relatively brief sojourn in France, where her beauty and charm would capture the devotion of her French subjects, as well as the roving eye of the charming but married Francois, nephew to King Louis XII and his heir. After biding her time, the ailing King of France died, freeing Mary from her marriage to the kindly, infirm man whom she did not love.
Freed from the bonds of her distasteful marriage, Mary, hearing rumors that her brother was again trying to marry her off for political advantage, went into action. When Charles Brandon, who had gone to France in order to escort Mary back to England at the express command of King Henry VIII, arrived in France, Mary asked him to marry her before securing her brother's permission. He finally agreed, though not without some trepidation, as such an act could be viewed as treasonous. Mary, however, was firm in her belief that, in the end, her brother would not deny her her heart's desire and would keep his promise to his favorite sister. So, they eloped before sailing back to England, aided by Francois, who was now the King of France.
This an interesting work of historical fiction about a Tudor princess about whom relatively little has been written. Ms. Plaidy expertly weaves those known facts into a compelling narrative that brings her story to life, though it leaves the reader wanting to know more than is provided by the author. Still, fans of Ms. Plaidy, of which I am one, will not be disappointed.
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VINE VOICEon 12 August 2008
Mary was the fifth child of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York. Henry VIII were close when they were children - he named his daughter, the future Queen Mary, after her and the warship Mary Rose was also named in her honour.Known in her youth as one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe and favorite sister of the King, she did not escape the typical fate of royal princesses. Since royal princesses were commonly regarded as a bartered commodity she was marrried off for politcial reason. Her husband became King Louis XI of France, 34 years older than the 18 year old golden child of the Tudor dynasty. Butr she strucked a deal with Henry VIII - her next husband would be of her choosing. 3 months she was Queen of France - and then she was "La Reine Blance" - the Dowager Queen as her husband had died.

She was almost already in love with Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, when she married the King. Henry knew of his sister's feelings but sent Brandon to bring Mary back to England, he made the Duke promise that he would not propose to her. However, the couple married in secret in France. Technically this was treason, as Brandon had married a Royal Princess without Henry's consent. The King was outraged, Due to the intervention of Wolsey, and Henry's affection for both his sister and Brandon, the couple were let off with a heavy fine.

This is a story to good to be missed by the Queen of romantic novels, Jean Plaidy, and in 1964 her novel on Mary was published. This is No 9 of her 11 novels in the Tudor saga.

Jean Plaidy was at the height of her creative powers and that shows. She is a superb storyteller and it is a pleasure to read. The plot is nicely set and evoles in a great fashion. The Tudor Court is splendidly descripted. Jean Plaidy researched her subjects well and - even it is a novel - it does not mean that this is far removed from the real events. This is one of the strengths of her writing.

Mary, the "French Queen" as she was known till her death, is nicely remembered in this excellent by Jean Plaidy.
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Jean Plaidy, renowned writer of historical fiction, who is also known to her legions of fans as Victoria Holt, wrote two books about the Tudor princesses. One is titled "The Thistle and the Rose" and is about Margaret Tudor, the older sister of King Henry VIII. This book takes a look at his younger sister, the beautiful, headstrong Mary, who was his favorite. The author, as always, weaves an interesting work of historical fiction gathered from the facts that are known about her subject.
The Princess Mary, in keeping with the traditions of the time, was not in control of own fate. Used as a political pawn through the rites of betrothal, she was finally married off to the sickly King of France, Louis XII, who was more than forty years her senior. Beautiful, vivacious, passionate about her feelings, and headstrong, the teenage Mary went kicking and screaming to the altar, as she was secretly in love with her brother's then best friend, Charles Brandon, a commoner whom King Henry VIII eventually elevated and upon whom he conferred the title of Duke of Suffolk. Before leaving for France, Mary extracted a promise from her brother that he would allow her to marry whom she chose the second time around.
Comforted by her brother's promise, Mary would make the most of her relatively brief sojourn in France, where her beauty and charm would capture the devotion of her French subjects, as well as the roving eye of the charming but married Francois, nephew to King Louis XII and his heir. After biding her time, the ailing King of France died, freeing Mary from her marriage to the kindly, infirm man whom she did not love.
Freed from the bonds of her distasteful marriage, Mary, hearing rumors that her brother was again trying to marry her off for political advantage, went into action. When Charles Brandon, who had gone to France at the express command of King Henry VIII in order to escort Mary back to England, arrived in France, Mary asked him to marry her before securing her brother's permission. Brandon finally agreed, though not without some trepidation, as such an act could be viewed as treasonous. Mary, however, was firm in her belief that, in the end, her brother would not deny her her heart's desire and would keep his promise to his favorite sister. So, they eloped before sailing back to England, aided by Francois, who was now the King of France.
This an interesting work of historical fiction of a Tudor princess about whom relatively little has been written. Ms. Plaidy expertly weaves those known facts into a compelling narrative that brings her story to life, though it leaves the reader wanting to know more than is provided by the author. Still, fans of Ms. Plaidy, of which I am one, will not be disappointed.
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on 4 February 2010
I only review books I feel very strongly about, and this is one of them. This is the story of the Henry VIII's beautiful, precocious baby sister Mary. She was married to the King of France against her will, promised that after the king died, she would be able to marry where her heart chose...and her heart had chosen Charles Brandon. But could they ever be together, when all were plotting against them? Only Jean Plaidy could write such realistic conversations, thoughts, drama. This is an excellent book.
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on 11 April 2013
I came to this book after reading several other historical novels set in the Tudor period. There is a certain snobbishness about Jean Plaidy among readers of historical fiction. On this showing, such readers are mistaken. I knew little about Mary Tudor, but after this delightful account of her marriages, her relationship with her elder brother Henry and her personal qualities, I shall definitely be reading Ms Plaidy's account of the life of Mary's elder sister, Margaret (about whom I know even less!). The copy of the book I have, from an Amazon dealer, was previously owned by a student. I do hope she enjoyed it. The writing is so readily accessible, and yet so stylish that it is difficult imagining a person of any age not taking pleasure from it.
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on 7 May 2010
in this book we meet mary tudor who was the younger sister to henry the eigth. as a tudor princess she has grown up as a female henry and has many admirers including henry's good friend charles brandon. but fate wasnt to be kind to them as she is married ofd to the ageing king of france but she still loves charles and that seems to get her through her time in france. the book in split into three parts, mary's childhood and life up until she lands in france, the second part sets the scene in france and includes mary's time in france and the last part is her marriage and life with charles. great story and she comes across as a interesting character and defintiely a woman to be reckoned with.
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on 6 February 2011
again it was nice to read about Henry younger sister u cant really find much about Mary i start by saying this is how u write a love story which had every thing in it her love 4 Charles was real and for Mary to go behind Henry back could gone very wrong the jealousy part in the book were bit hard to read Mary growing awareness of Henry anger and she was worried for her son i say one thing about the Tudors if they want something they didn't mind waiting i look forward to her other books
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on 25 December 2010
I bought this book as I love the Tudor period in English history but I realized I didn't know much about Henry VIII's sisters.
It is a pretty short book and it jumps ahead a lot especially towards the end, but it's a beautiful romance of how a princess never bowed her head to the demands of her kingdom but fought for love. Will I buy the other books in the series? Yes, I definitely will.
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on 8 November 2012
This novel gave me an insight into the life of this unknown (to me) princess. It was interesting to imagine the very close relationship she had with her brother Henry.Very enjoyable read.
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on 2 December 2015
I used to read Jean Plaidy book years ago and enjoyed them .So I thought I would try them again ,and am happy to say they are very good ,
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