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By focusing not on pure biography but instead on relationships, Dunn is able to narrow her book (still mammoth in scope) to the most salient and interesting events in the two queens lives. The book begins in 1558, the year in which Mary first wed and Elizabeth assumed the throne of England. Almost immediately the cousins were embroiled in a conflict that would endure for the remainder of Marys life. A restless, sexually-active Catholic, and leader of the Scottish people in alliance with France, Mary was ever a conduit for rumors of rebellion. The "Virgin Queen" Elizabeth used Mary as a dark reflection to underline her own celibate constancy as a ruler of law and order.
The pair never met face to face, but as Dunn reveals, their lives were closely intertwined. After holding Mary in Fotheringhay prison for nearly two decades, Elizabeth ordered her cousin executed in 1587. Mary had chosen martyrdom in favor of a confession to complicity in the Babington assassination plot. In court, she declared: "I would never make Shipwreck of my Soul by conspiring the Destruction of my dearest Sister." Though the ostensible victor, Elizabeth (who had struggled to find a way to release her cousin while still upholding her own power as queen) confessed, "I am not free, but a captive." In Elizabeth and Mary, Dunn has built a rich world that underlines the tragic struggle between private emotions and the public faces history puts on them. --Patrick OKelley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This book is an excellent history of these two crazy amazing women. The hard copy needs a magnifier -this format is great .Published 8 days ago by Lachelle M. Parker
Really enjoyed this book. I liked the erudition in Dunn's style of writing. Dunn described well the morès of the era, how the very different upbringings and personalities of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mary E. Brown
Powerful and ambitious cousin queens at a time when kings ruled Europe, I found this dual biography of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots deeply and doubly interesting. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jaylia3
Very good really tells you a lot about what went on between the two.Published 12 months ago by Cheryl Booton
Great book - started to read the actual book the kindle version was just so much easier because I am on the go. Just a great read.Published 19 months ago by kathleen fitzpatrick
Most dramas on this subject don't tell you much more about Mary Stuart's life than the Monty Python sketch: "Are ye Mary, Queen o' Scots?".... "Yes, I am."... Read morePublished 22 months ago by A Customer
This book was excellent. I read one review where a reader complained that Dunn repeats herself too often, reiterating points as if you aren't going retain them otherwise. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Natti 29
The author draws fascinating parallels between very important historicla figures. Highly recommended if you are interested in either person as well as the period in question. Read morePublished on May 31, 2013 by S. Herlihy