Top critical review
better attention could have been paid to Scottish situations as ...
on 19 May 2017
I don't want to be too harsh, as parts of this book were very engaging, and it's probably still worth reading as biographies of Margaret Tudor (and Mary) are in short supply, however too caution should be exercised in reading it as its authority is not always particularly persuasive. For a start the author's citations are patchy and unreliable- purchases of clothing are often referenced carefully, but important political events are sometimes not even cited. This is all the more apparent in Scottish cases, and in at least one case the author makes a claim (regarding one of James IV's illegitimate children) that appears to have been invented by her, as it is not to my knowledge backed up in any other sources or secondary works, and she does not cite a source. As well as this, better attention could have been paid to Scottish situations as a whole, especially given that country is the major context for Margaret's life- for example the author often lazily refers to families as 'clans' without much idea of what that term actually means, a rookie mistake. The book is also somewhat dated in its portrayals of women and related terminology. Lastly as other reviewers have stated, Margaret and Mary's experiences are almost entirely subordinated to their relevance to their brother's reign, even in the title itself, and the affairs of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon are focused on perhaps too much, even where they don't have much relevance to the life of either sister. Mary's story is almost entirely dropped for large portions- understandable given the lack of sources, but surely at least some kind of narrative should have been attempted. A good introduction to the subject, but one that should be supplemented thoroughly with wider reading in order to understand where this book goes wrong.