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Mary, Bloody Mary Paperback – January 1, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Young Royals Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Teen fans of the movie Elizabeth will be fascinated with the pomp and sinister intrigue of Mary, Bloody Mary, an engrossing story about the teen years of Mary Tudor, half sister to Queen Elizabeth and daughter to Henry VIII. As a baby, Mary was adored by her father, who carried her around on his shoulder and displayed her for the court to admire. But as his marriage with her mother, Catherine of Aragon, waned for lack of a male heir, Henry began an affair with the beautiful Anne Boleyn. Mary was convinced that Anne was a witch. Didn't everyone know she had a sixth finger? And wasn't it Anne who persuaded Henry to declare his first marriage invalid (rendering Mary a bastard)? As the king grows ever colder, Mary is banished to a distant house, forbidden from seeing her mother, left to wear rags, and finally--at Anne's bidding--summoned back to court to be a servant to her baby half sister Elizabeth. Once there, Mary lives in constant dread that she will be poisoned or sent to the executioner's block in one of her father's rages. By the time Anne Boleyn herself is beheaded, Henry's first daughter has become the bitter and angry woman who was to be known as Bloody Queen Mary for her savage religious genocide. Carolyn Meyer, long acclaimed for her teen fiction (Drummers of Jericho), accurately captures the glitter and grandeur as well as the brutality of this fascinating period in history. (Ages 10 to 16) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This riveting slice of fictional royal history paints a sympathetic portrait of Henry VIII's oldest daughter, before she earns the title Bloody Mary. Trained not to weep in public, the young princess puts on a steely front but lives in constant fear of her father's tyranny. The novel begins in 1527 when 11-year-old Mary learns that she has been betrothed to the middle-aged king of France. The accessible first-person narrative chronicles Mary's dramatic change in status from riches to rags when her father attempts to annul his marriage to Catherine, Mary's mother, and conveys how Mary's (and the nation's) fate is affected by her father's obsession with "bewitching" Anne Boleyn, his excessive spending and his execution sprees. The novel ends in 1536, just after Henry VIII takes his third wife, Jane Seymour, and things begin to look a bit more optimistic for Mary. While the pacing is at times uneven, Meyer's (Gideon's People) account convincingly sets the stage for Mary's own sprees of persecution (mentioned in a thorough afterword) and provides an excellent introduction to pre-Renaissance customs, fashions and morals. The author's characterization of the Catholic queen demonstrates there was much more to Mary than the deeds that earned her a sanguinary nickname. Ages 11-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007150296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007150298
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,683,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mary, Bloody Mary is a wonderful find for a history teacher. It is historical fiction that is exciting and full of vivid detail. Kids will not have to be nagged to read this riveting story of Henry VIII's eldest daughter whose life was a rags-to-riches story in reverse. From being her father's precious jewel to living in worn-out clothes, forbidden to see her mother, and pressured to sign documents stating that her own birth and birthright were illegitimate, Mary's story is told in a compelling and sympathetic manner by author Carolyn Meyer. This meticulously researched book adds detail that brings the era to life. We are pulled into Mary's universe: her studies, her daily life, her friendships, and, of course, the intrigue of court life under Henry VIII all are vividly recounted in this book. Mary emerges as a complex character who kids will find fascinating and relatable. I'm so pleased to see such high quality writing targetted for young adults. I plan to use it in my seventh grade history classes and know the kids will love reading and discussing it.
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Format: Hardcover
I highly reccomend this excellant novel. Young Mary Tudor narrates the story of her difficult childhood. The first few years of her life were filled with every privilage imaginable - until her father had an affair with the bewitching Anne Boleyn and tossed aside his first wife, Mary's mother, forbidding her to ever see her again. When at last Mary is allowed to live in the palace again, it is as her infant half-sister Elizabeth's servant. This is a powerful moving novel about a young girl who faces so much loss and tragedy in her life - seperated from her mother, stripped of her title, turned into a servant - that it's no wonder she grew up to become the person she became.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I you want "Cinderella-esque", then you will love this. If you want a gritty, realistic depiction of history, then you will hate it.

I adore history, both ficttion and non-fiction. Mary Tudor and the events of her life are a period I find fascinating. I have to say, therefore, that I was quite disappointed with Carolyn Meyer's novelised version of Mary's life as a young Princess. I bought this not aware that it had been written for a teenage audience.

Firstly, the title is not really appropriate. "Bloody Mary" was a sobriquet she was given only after the burnings of the Protestants she authorised as Queen of England. Since this is a story set many years previously, it is pointless; if only to inform someone unfamiliar with history that the woman who eventually became known as "Bloody Mary" is the protagonist of the novel.

Secondly, when writing a historical novel, any changes made have to be subtle, not glaring. Anne Boleyn did not always ONLY wear blacck with a white trim. She was very fashionable and as Queen, would have had an extensive wardrobe. Garbing her always in black, in order to further demonise her is unrealistic.
Nor is there ever a Sir Francis Peacham accused of adultery with Anne Boleyn. Sir Francis Weston is the man accused, along with the other four, who are executed for adultery with the Queen.

Thirdly, the characters are archetypal and one-dimensional. I do admire Meyer's attempt to explain Mary's actions when on the throne as a cause and effect of her early life, but it doesn't really work. She spends so much time casting Mary as the hapless victim and listing her grievances, that the opposing characters in the story; such as King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell, among others; are really CARICATURES.
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A Kid's Review on August 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book was an excellent hisorical fiction novel. It tells about Mary Tudor from when she was about 10 - 20, when her life as a princess is awful. Her father, Henry the eighth, takes a mistress, Anne, and she pretty much ruins Mary's life. When Henry marries Anne, Mary becomes illegitimate, and she becomes a servant to their child, after being banished for years.
Once you read this book you can tell why Mary became who she did in her later life. Plus this book made this bit of history very interesting!
This was a great book, and I'd recommend it for ages 12 and up. If you liked this, you'd probably like to read "Elizabeth, Red Rose of the House of Tudor" a Royal Diary that tells about Mary's half sister.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As a person familiar with the Tudor era rather than a young person less involved I found it rather difficult to keep turning the pages. But Mary is quite well portrayed as the stubborn and spunky Princess who was often ill and a victim of her father's obsession with Anne Boleyn. King Henry and Queen Catherine are recognizable from what we know of history as are other characters such as Charles V's ambassador Eustache Chapuys.

There are a few minor errors. Mary was not blue-eyed, her eyes were dark, but near-sighted as the story points out. Anne Boleyn was not executed on the same day as her convicted "lovers" or in the same place, the men meeting their end on Tower Hill outside of the Tower precincts. Mark Smeaton had not been tortured to gain a confession and he did not stagger climbing up the scaffold steps. Anne met her end on a different scaffold , Tower Green, inside the Tower walls where only royalty were dispatched. Although she was killed with a sword, she knelt upright rather than laying her head upon the block.The story has her dramatically shaking her long black hair away from her face just before the headsman struck but that is poetic license, the long black hair being symbolic of a witch or demon.

I would have liked to see more of Anne Boleyn in the story, especially face to face with Mary but all in all, this biographical novel is well done.I am not the proper audience for it, however, and judging from the other reviews, "Mary, Bloody Mary" was well-received by most of the reviewers.
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