This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,-- This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. ~~William Shakespeare, Richard III

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Book Review: Her Mother's Daughter

Her Mother's Daughter, Julianne Lee
3 roses

This was a look at events in Mary Tudor's (daughter of Henry VIII) life through not only her own eyes but through the eyes of some of those around her. While I am not a big fan of Mary, I do enjoy reading different versions of her life.

The story begins when she's about six and betrothed to her cousin Charles and continues all the way to her death. There is a closer look at her feelings and emotions throughout the events in her life, which has been lacking in other novels about her. The author appears to have really tried to show what Mary could possibly have been thinking and feeling at many different points in her life. We also get, at the start of most chapters, what appears to be Mary's thoughts about events as if she's looking back after her death and commenting on the coming events. This is an intriguing addition to the story that I enjoyed. Mary's portrayal here is quite believable - she is not shown as being as horrible as some like to think her but she also does not come across as a saint. We see a woman who can and wants to love but we also she her stubbornness, especially when it comes to her religion. My heart went out to her after her marriage and we got more of a look at Prince Philip; she did not deserve to be treated in that manner.

There really was no new insight into her life but that was okay. I will admit, the beginning of the novel had me confused for a while until I realized what the author's intent was - to show how modern people view Queen Mary. The bits where she is looking back and commenting on the past were my favorite parts of the story. That being said, while I thought the author's portrayal of Mary was believable, the entire story moved along very, very quickly, seeming to just glaze over some rather important aspects of Mary's life. I was also a bit puzzled as to why the author decided to throw in some of the other points of view (such as the London pickpocket) unless it was to simply show the reader how the "common" person might have felt about the royal family and current events. I did not think this added to the story in any way and made the reading a bit choppy.

While this was not a horrible read it did not live up to my expectations. I probably would only recommend this to die-hard Tudor fans and to those that are just looking for an introduction to the big players in this drama filled time period. The author did try to present a tale that shows the "hows" and "whys" of this Queen's behavior but the overall novel just fell short.

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