2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Starts off wonderfully but ultimately fails to deliver a reappraisal,
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This review is from: Mary Tudor (Hardcover)
Three things attracted me to this book; Mary herself (her tragic early life and controversial reign make her, together with Richard III, the most interesting monarch to read about in my opinion), an update of David Loades's earlier Marian offerings, and the fact that David Loades is a man.
The last point is important to me because as of late the history book shelves have become saturated with female writers who offer a different yet still valid voice to the traditionally dominant male one.
A book written on a woman by a man therefore seems like a breath of fresh air and the differences between David Loades' style and the most recent female writers on Mary, Linda Porter and Anne Whitelock, are obvious.
Loades is very precise and concise in his writing. He gets to the point. He also does not get bogged down in depicting Mary's early life and 'pregnancies' as tragic. Facts are stated. We are left to make up our own minds.
Certain things were emphasised which have not been emphasised in more recent books on Mary; the movement in the late 1530s to make Mary heir to the thrown instead of her half-brother Prince Edward, her belief in the return to the Henrician religious settlement only and not Roman Catholicism during Edward VI's reign, while her husband Philip II of Spain is given importance throughout the marriage and not just during the marriage negiations or Mary's 'pregnancies'.
Most interestingly is the suggestion that Mary and Philip secretly financed Henry Dudley's rebellion against them in 1557, purely to attract support for a war against France, the supposed backers of the very rebellion; a conspiracy theory that sits alongside current ones of the 21st century!
The book does tend to fall apart at the end. The chapter entitled 'Mary and Elizabeth' hardly mentions Elizabeth while the very last sentence 'It is time that England's first queen was better appreciated' left a very disappointed feeling as you realise that Loades failed to do this. Perhaps he expects another to do this. I wanted Loades to do this.