Sent from her native Scotland to live in the court of her future father-in-law, King Henry II of France, young Mary, Queen of Scots, spends her time attending balls, hunting and hawking, learning Latin and fractions and music, and playing with her future husband, Francis. In Kathryn Lasky's fictionalized diary of the 11-year-old queen, readers will get a piquant taste of 16th-century life in Europe. Mary is quite aware of her role as the betrothed to France's royal family. Playing chess together one day, Francis comments to Mary, "Did it ever strike you, Mary, that we are not so much children and sons and daughters of parents as we are pieces on a gigantic chessboard called Europe? You are given to me to help checkmate England." As with the other titles in the Royal Diaries series (Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor
, etc.), a fact-packed historical note, epilogue, paintings, and family tree provide just enough additional information to whet the appetites of readers for more about the ill-fated queen of Scotland and France. (Ages 9 to 14) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-Mary was only nine months old when she was crowned Queen of Scotland, succeeding her father, King James V. Because of the many political conflicts, she was separated from her mother and her country at the age of five. To forge an alliance with France, she was betrothed to Francis, the son of King Henry II of France and Queen Catherine de Medici. Mary was promptly sent to live in their care until she was old enough for the marriage to take place. That is where this story begins, as she chronicles her life throughout a one-year period. Life in France is filled with dances, playing with her future husband, and hawking, which is Mary's favorite pastime. However, the girl's life is made very difficult by the jealous queen. She finds comfort though in Henry's mistress Diane de Poitier, who is very much the lady and gives Mary strength and inspiration throughout the good and bad times. As with the other titles in the series, this diary is packed with facts that will give readers a wonderful opportunity to learn about a unique heroine from history. A historical note, epilogue, reproductions, and a family tree provide just enough additional information to whet the appetites of readers who may want to continue to explore the background of this ill-fated queen.Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY
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