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Mary Queen of Scots Paperback – September 1, 1993
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— San Francisco Chronicle
“She was sometimes reviled as a scheming whore, sometimes revered as a misunderstood martyr. But she was invariably regarded as fascinating. Antonia Fraser’s richly readable biography demonstrates that Mary’s great fascination continues unabated.”
“One of the most fascinating figures in history.”
— The Columbus Dispatch
“Compassionate, illuminating, rich in human interest.”
— The New York Times
“With grace, sensitivity and a sharp eye for detail, Lady Antonia Fraser has succeeded not only in recapturing the real Mary from the symbol but also in illuminating the chaotic age in which she lived.”
From the Inside Flap
She was the quintessential queen: statuesque, regal, dazzlingly beautiful. Her royal birth gave her claim to the thrones of two nations; her marriage to the young French dauphin promised to place a third glorious crown on her noble head.
Instead, Mary Stuart became the victim of her own impulsive heart, scandalizing her world with a foolish passion that would lead to abduction, rape and even murder. Betrayed by those she most trusted, she would be lured into a deadly game of power, only to lose to her envious and unforgiving cousin, Elizabeth I.
Here is her story, a queen who lost a throne for love, a monarch pampered and adored even as she was led to her beheading, the unforgettable woman who became a legend for all time.
Top Customer Reviews
Fraser has a methodical style wherein each sentence is so cram-packed with detail that her books probably improve on their second or third readings. She takes a comprehensive, relatively non-biased look at her subject here and provides an interesting biography of a woman who has been characterized as everything from a near saint to a scheming, treasonous viper who deserved her eventual beheading. While Weir seems to take the position that Elizabeth I was some beloved angel who eventually had to sully her hands and cut off the head of her cousin for national security, I think the truth is somewhere else, as does Fraser.
In terms of historical accuracy, I think Fraser probably has the edge over Weir, notwithstanding both authors' impeccable research. Weir allows story to take precedence over fact, something that doesn't seem to happen as much with Fraser.
Which brings me to my list of quibbles with this book. Fraser may write factually, but in doing so, she comes thisclose to having written a book every bit as dry as the ones I steered clear of in school. It was torture to get through some of the passages and I put the book down more than once, not to pick it up again for days. I wasn't compelled to finish the book and find out the rest of the story the way I was with Weir's.
My second issue was with all of the passages in untranslated languages, French primarily. A few years ago, I'd say I spoke French fluently, but even I had to look up some of the phrases here.Read more ›
Criticism aside, Frasier delievers a rich narrative of the life of Mary, including her life in France before her personal rule, a side of the queen we rarely hear about. She also displays an impressive understanding of the Scottish court and the Elizabeth's England's relationship to Scotland. She manages to keep her ponderings about Mary's private feelings to a minimum. Although there is some attempts to explain Mary's psychological state, its only done when absolutely needed (after all, if you're reading this there's going to be times when you're mind is screaming "why?" when you read over some of the yutz stuff Mary seems to do).
All in all, "Mary Queen of Scots" is a good read and more importantly, good history.
Still there is no better way to discover the full scope of Mary and how people and events all conspired against her.
Perhaps no resident of Edinburgh is more famous than Mary Queen of Scots. Ironically, she lived in the land for only twelve of her forty-four years and her period of personal rule lasted a mere six years, none of which were free from strife.
Born as her father lay dying she became Queen before she was a week old. During her infancy King Henry VIII of England raided the country several times in order to kidnap the girl and secure her as a bride for his son Edward. She was sent to France by her Mother and raised as a daughter by the King. At the age of 16 she married the heir to the French throne who became King shortly thereafter. When her young husband died a year into his reign she was left a teenaged childless Queen Dowager.
She returned to the land of her birth to find herself a Catholic Queen in a country in the midst of Protestant Reformation. Many of her protestant subjects feared that she would become a second 'Bloody Mary' and like her cousin Mary Tudor attempt to force her country back to the Catholic faith. Plots and rebellions against her were a persistent occurrence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Covers her story too well. The plot is repeatedly derailed by excessive detail - who is related to whom (to the third and fourth degrees) and even down to what fabrics and trim... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Beth Bock
Fantastic book and because of it I will probably never read historical fiction again. But one has to be interested in the subject and ready for a huge amount of detail, some... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lauren Mescon
I'm finding the Scottish history interesting, but the author spends a lot of time skipping back and forth whichh doesn't help me with the flow of the story about Mary Stuart which... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Vicki Keeney
Lady Antonia is one of my favorite writers and I love this book. Mary Stuart has always been a favorite historical figure and this book get to the heart of life and what caused... Read morePublished 3 months ago by B. Huston
I accidentally purchased a Kindle e-book, thinking it a regular book. Usually it is a 30 day window for returning things, but when I tried to return for a refund, it was past the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer