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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Mary became Queen of Scotland when she was just a baby, after the death of her father. But in a time where alliances among the powerful nations of Europe are important, Mary is sent away from her home at age five to live in the court of King Henry II of France, where she will be educated and live as one of the family until she old enough to marry Henry's son, Francis. The year is 1553, and Mary is eleven. She longs for her homeland, and for her mother, but is good friends with nine-year-old Francis and the other royal children. In her diary, Mary describes her daily life over one year. She may be a queen, but in many ways Mary is just like any eleven-year-old girl, enjoying fun and games. but at the same time longing to return to her home and mother. I really enjoyed this wonderful new Royal Diaries book, and I recommend it to all fans of the series.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
11-year-old Mary was only nine months old when she was crowned Queen of Scotland, succeeding her father. However because of many conflicts she is separated from her mother and Scotland to live with the French. To forge an alliance with France, she is bethroled to Francis, the son of King Henry II. Mary is sent then to France to live with her new "parents" King Henry II and his vicious and jealous Queen Catherine de Medici. It is there that Mary begins her chronicle of her journal. Life there in France is pretty much every day life for Mary. She enjoys going to dances, and playing with her future husband Francis. But she loves hawking the best. However the charming Mary's life is made very difficult by the vicious jealous Queen Catherine de Medici. She finds confort though in Henry's mistress Diane de Poitier who was quite the lady and gave Mary strength and inspiration through good and bad times.
This was another ideal great Royal Diary. Like any other Royal Diary it had a part that explained the real history of Mary and it was sad to learn of her tragic ending. Like Francis said he and Mary were really chess pieces on a big chess board and a wrong move could ruin things.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After the death of her father, Mary is crowned queen at nine months, leaving her mother and a group of royal chancellors to rule Scotland until she is of age. The year is 1553 and Scotland has joined forces with it's powerful alliance, France. Mary is sent of to France to become one of the family there, and one day to marry King Henry II of France's son: Francis. With a group of four Marys and her governess, Mary writes about each day of her life at the Courts in France, and dream of the days she will be queen of Scotland and France. This book mainly portrays Mary in her carefree days as a child, making friends and playing games, basically having fun. It was interesting reading about Mary as a youngster, an 11 year old girl, travelling at all the richest mansions, manors and castles in France. I also found the rivalry between Mary and Catherine of France, wife of King Henry hilarious! This is a fantastic edition to the Royal Diaries.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Mary, Queen of Scots / 0-439-19404-0

This Royal Diary is, in many ways, one of the most touching entries in the series. Mary, the young Queen of Scotland, has been living in France, in a sort of 'pleasant' exile, far from her home, her country, and her loving mother. Bright, cheerful, and healthy, she frets for her young fiance, a sickly boy who she has come to regard as a friend, if not necessarily the most desirable of suitors. Though she is a Queen, she is without a court beyond her four dearest friends (all also named 'Mary'), and she has no power within the vicious court of Queen Catherine de Medici, whose consorting with sorcerers and facility with poisons covers the court with a dark cloud of fear and suspicion.

Though I knew little of Mary before delving into this diary, outside of her unfortunately short life and unenviable demise, I found her fictional representation to be immediately and intensely likable. Though she tries hard to be regal and to keep a good-temperament, Mary understandably mourns for the loss of her mother and country, wishing that her exile could be over, or at least temporarily suspended. She handles herself with verve and determination, standing up to rude ladies-in-waiting, outwitting the conniving Queen Catherine, and valiantly standing up for one of her 'dear Marys', when the young woman is inappropriately and forcibly pursued by their music instructor. This part of the novel, in particular, is very powerful, as Mary explores her frustration with people who refuse to believe a girl when she is being molested, and with the necessity of catching the culprit publicly in order to have him dismissed from court. The young woman who seeks to avoid these attacks stays silent out of fear, but learns that trusting her friends and loved ones with the horrible truth lifts a weight from her shoulders and allows them to save her, a lesson that all parents will want to teach their children - that if someone is trying to hurt you, it is always the best, safest thing to tell someone you trust.

Factually, "Mary, Queen of Scots" is slightly more problematic. Lasky presents Nostradamus (one of the Queen's sorcerers) in a more favorable light than is probably technically correct - making him into a sort of lovable savior who rescues Mary from death and seems wholly unmotivated by the money the Queen lavished upon him. It would, I think, have been more beneficial to have dealt a bit more fairly with such a controversial historical figure, rather than the wholly one-sided view we see here. On the other hand, Lasky is surprisingly gentle with Queen Catherine, depicting Mary as struggling mightily with the "sin" of her distaste for the woman, deciding that it is just the fact that they are two queens under one roof that is the problem, as opposed to - for example - the Queen's rumored propensity for poison and murder.

All of which to say, definitely pick up "Mary, Queen of Scots" for an engaging read and an interesting dip into this fascinating character and the history surrounding her, but I would definitely recommend expanding your research into something a bit more historically factual after first whetting your appetite with this novel.

~ Ana Mardoll
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
...This edition to the Royal Diaries series presents Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland. Yet, she doesn't live in Scotland at all. She lives in France, where she lives amoung the king's court and is friends with his children. I thought this book was exellent. It comes from a person that sounds like a nice friend. My favorite part(s) of the book is when she talks about the king's children(Fransis, Elizabeth, Claude, and Margurite) and her ladies-in-waiting like if(and they are) the best of friends. That makes you think of Mary more as an adolesent girl rather than the Queen of Scotland
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Mary Queen of Scots is a great new Royal Diary Series. It gives meaning to the "royal" in Royal Diaries. For this girl is a Queen at 9 months, but life as a queen is not all fun and games like a queen or princess is often portrayed. Before reading this excellent book, I would recommend reading Elizabeth I first. In Elizabeth, it talks about Mary Queen of Scots as a young infant and in reading elizabeth it will connect the series for you. Enjoy!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mary, Queen of Scots: Book Review
Book by: Kathryn Lasky
Mary, Queen of Scots is a fictional biography. This book also has a lot of mystery. The book takes place in France, 1553 and when Mary is eleven years old. It is about a girl who was crowned queen when she was one year old. When she is little, she is sent away from Scotland to France because of one specific reason. In France, she is always homesick for Scotland and her mother. But at least she has her "four Marys" to comfort her. Over time, the Queen of France starts to get new people for court positions. But then something odd starts to happen.
This book has many strengths. First of all, it is so rich in detail that you can imagine everything that is going on in your mind. This is also why it seems to capture you. It takes you to another place in time, where you have never been before. You can almost feel you are the main character because of how much it expresses the main character's thoughts and feelings and because it is written as the main character's diary.
This book also has one weakness. At the beginning, the main character tells a bit about herself and other people. People can get bored of this, like I did. But you shouldn't stop reading because it gets better!
The author, Kathryn Lasky, did a good job writing this book. I really liked it because of all the detail. Also, Lasky kept you hooked to the story. She never let you catch yourself day dreaming. I think that all of this makes a good writer.
I would definitely recommend this book to every one of all ages. This is because it is so compelling. It is full of mystery and will keep you asking, "What will happen next?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I started reading The Royal Diaries when I was ten. Then first one I read was Elizabeth I (which is funny because she was a cousin to Mary Queen of Scots). I read this book on the way to Florida one year. I finished it within a matter of hours. I wish there could have been more about her in the diary. Kathryn Lasky is a very good author. I really enjoy reading her books. Well, I guess I am getting off the subject of Mary Queen of Scots. This book is very good and you can learn alot about other cultures and people by reading The Royal Diaries...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love the royal diaries! It is great to see how famous queens and princesses once lived. This book was great!
Mary Queen of Scotts talks about Mary Stuart, who even though is the Queen of Scitland, she lives in France! Her best friends (4 of them) are not only her lady-in-waitnings, but they also share her name! Mary calls them the Queens Mary's, or her lucky 4-leaf-clover. It also shows Mary's cousins, Elizabeth and Mary.
This book is a great addition to the Royal Diaries, and if you are a fan, you defiantley should read this book!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My daughter brought this book home from the library. I read it and found a number of ommisions. The book is silent on a number of historical issues. The book mentions "bloody Mary" and the 3,000 protestants that were murdered. The book omits that King Henry VIII confiscated church property and gave it to his friends. This left thousands of people homeless and the poor without assistance. The book omits the catholics murdered by the protestant regime. The book omits the suffering of millions of Irish and the persecution of English catholics.

The book implies that Queen Elizabeth the 1 and Mary Queen of Scots were religously tolerant. There was no religious freedom in Elizabethan England. Quakers, Puritans and other "non conformists" were not welcome. Catholics suffered under penal legislation. The book implies that the French King Henry put forth Mary Queen of Scots claim to the English throne. This is historically false. Mary, Queen of Scots was painted as a usurper, when if fact she had a valid claim to the throne.

This book implies that protestantism is more enlightened that Catholicism. In fact, the first place to offer religious tolerance to Non conformists was Maryland, established by the catholic Calvert family in America.

I did let my daughter read the book, with a disclaimer for historical inaccuracy.
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