8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A new look at Mary Tudor,
This review is from: Mary I: England's Catholic Queen (Yale English Monarchs Series) (The Yale English Monarchs Series) (Hardcover)
I thoroughly recommend this biography of Mary Tudor for anyone interested in sixteenth century England. Its focus is very much on the personalities of Mary, Philip II and Cardinal Pole and also on international diplomacy, rather than on purely insular politics and religious controversy. Within its target area it is very fully researched and the argument is presented in a highly readable, lucid style. The issues it addresses are still very current: attitudes towards women in power, towards national sovereignty or international human rights and political frameworks, towards religous belief within society. The villain of the book is Pope Paul IV, whose almost psychotic mood swings and arrogance leave Mary and Pole in a position not far different from that of her father. Edwards uses subtle irony to puncture some national cliches about Mary and her sister, which I think is cleverly done. It is both original and skilful in tackling its subject for readers who have some knowledge of the period but it is also very accessible and enjoyable for those fresh to Tudor history. My only quibble was a little too much attention was devoted to ceremonial details, particularly with Mary's marriage, and again in the diplomatic correspondence prior to the fall of Calais. This is purely a matter of personal taste. I would unhesitatingly recommend it to the general reader and the student of history.