1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you're working on Mary Sidney, or even Philip Sidney, Mary Wroth or William Herbert, then this is a must-read. Hannay's work on the Sidney family, especially the women, is well-known but I didn't expect this book to be quite as readable, lively and fascinating as it is.
Recent research has questioned the more usual picture of Mary Sidney as being clever but a bit dour, overly pious and serious, and I developed a real affection for her while reading this book. Hannay isn't really a critical scholar so her interpretation of Mary's and the other Sidneys' writings is fairly standard.
She does, however, a brilliant job of putting Mary back into her family context, starting with her parents Mary Dudley and Henry Sidney, and looks at her relationships with her own children. Overall, expecting something much duller I was hugely surprised by this book - highly recommended for students of the Sidney family or Renaissance women.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 1998
Crucial for anyone writing about the Sidneys, this book is balanced, fascinating and readable. Hannay's impeccable research includes the religious background, which is somewhat rare among Sidneyians; she doesn't waste time on speculation, which is the abiding fault of Duncan-Jones' biography of Philip Sidney. I can't wait for Hannay's edition of the Countess's works.