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MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS...MORE WOMAN THAN QUEEN,
This review is from: Immortal Queen (Paperback)This is a stirring, well written work of historical fiction about Mary, Queen of Scots. Drawing a three dimensional portrait of this tragic queen, whose reign was all too short, the author sets the mood for the turbulent time and place that was sixteenth century Scotland, replete with intrigues and almost unimaginable skullduggery. It was there that the beautiful Mary was to confront a certain duality in her nature that would see her rule Scotland with her heart, rather than with her head.
Mary was a woman who had the capacity to enslave men's hearts with her luminous beauty and inspire great loyalty in her friends with her innate charm and kindness. She went to Scotland to reclaim her throne after the deaths of her husband, Francois, the King of France, and of her mother, Marie de Guise, who had been Regent of Scotland on Mary's behalf.
In protestant Scotland, Mary was to be confronted with fire and brimstone preacher, John Knox, an ardent calvinist, who would brook no tolerance towards papists. Mary, an ardent catholic and well educated woman, wanted everyone to worship as their conscience dictated. Her benevolent posture and entreaties for religious tolerance fell upon the deaf ears of the rigid John Knox, a fundamentalist fanatic of the worst sort, who would prove to be the bane of Mary's existence.
Moreover, her older half-brother, James Stuart, was a cold and calculating man of great ambition whose bastardy was the only thing standing in his way of claiming the crown of Scotland for himself. The book reveals his perfidy and the machinations that he set into play in order to obtain by stealth and intrigue what was Mary's by right. He would secretly work with the English, as well as with the Lords of the Congregation of Scotland, to ensure that he would eventually be the power behind the throne.
Meanwhile, Mary would enter into a disastrous marriage with Lord Darnley, a dissolute, though devastatingly handsome, catholic member of the English nobility. This marriage that was to set the stage for a number of violent, heinous acts that were to traumatize Mary and set her upon a course for which there would be no turning back. This most unhappy queen would ultimately give birth to their son, James, the future King of Scotland, under the most difficult of circumstances.
Her relationship with dashing James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, her third and last husband, would prove to be her undoing. The book explores this relationship in great detail, in all its tumultuousness and passion. It dilineates the events that led up to their marriage, and Mary's own complicity in them. Eventually, the decisions that Mary would make at this difficult time in her life would render her the captive Queen of Scots and set her on the royal road to Fotheringay Castle in England, where she would be sentenced to death by her wily cousin, Elizabeth I.
The author's interpretation of the major events in Mary's life makes for fascinating reading, as Mary comes alive on the pages of this book, a compassionate and vibrant, flesh and blood woman. It is simply masterful storytelling at its best. Readers will find themselves riveted to the pages of this beautifully written, well researched work of historical fiction. This is a book that even the most discerning reader will enjoy.