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Mary Queen of Scotland and The Isles: A Novel Paperback – April 15, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Well, I read almost the whole thing. The book slows in the last third as Mary's confinement makes for less interesting reading than her wild rides in the Scottish highlands with her lover. Still, I finished the novel (well, almost finished it) with a better understanding of Scotland and England during the Elizabethan Age. And George fills out the story beautifully with factual information on European royalty, geograpical setting,architecture,food,clothing, music, pastimes, etc..
So, it's a great story,entertaining and educational, just a little overlong for my taste. It could be a four rating if one is a patient reader and interested in detail. It's definitely a feast best enjoyed in small bites and chewed slowly. Hit and run readers look elsewhere. History buffs brew a cup of tea and settle in!
Margaret George wrote an intensive book on the queen of Scotland, who was also related to Elizabeth I somewhat distantly. George did a great job of telling Mary's story ~~ a story of a rash, flighty woman who didn't stop to think before acting. Who thought with her emotions (such a different queen than her English cousin!) ~~ defied the normal conventions and rules set upon her by her advisors and did whatever she thought she wanted to do. Naturally, we all know how the story turns out in the end ~~ but George does a wonderful job of epicting "what might have happened" throughout this novel. And she does a wonderful job combining facts within the novel ~~ so you might pick up a few things here and there about Scottish history.
For those of you who want to read about the royalty but are too intimidated to read the historical tomes, I suggest you read this one. It's long ~~ but the writing itself will keep you interested and propells you onto the way to learning more about history. When you finish the last page, you rest in confidence that you tackled such a hefty book ~~ and you walk away just a little smarter about history. If a book can get you to do that, then the praises should rest on George's head.
My comments are limited to how much I truly enjoyed reading this book and learning of the details of the life of Mary, Queen of Scotland. After reading the book, it was weeks before I could put her day-to-day life, and death, out of my mind.
If you enjoy history, written in novel format, you will love this book. I read it in one week and am just about to delve into Margaret George's "Henry VIII" book...and then her book on "Cleopatra". I LOVE THIS AUTHOR'S STYLE!
Most of the novel is told by a third-person narrator, although there are some long stretches of journal-writing by Mary in the last fifth or so. Though Mary's viewpoint is the predominant one, the narrator occasionally travels to Elizabeth I's court and into the minds of various other characters as well, including Darnley, Bothwell, and sundry ill-fated spies.
Certainly the outstanding quality of this historical novel is George's ability to draw characters. Mary herself is depicted sympathetically without ever being idealized; at crucial times in her life, there's almost always someone to tell her that she's making a mistake, and she listens to them far too seldom. More important, George avoids making caricatures of figures such as Darnley and John Knox. The latter is especially well rounded; harsh as he is on the pulpit, we also see glimpses of him as a loving husband and father.
George has a nice eye for small detail, as when Mary on the last evening of her life prays, only to be distracted by her dog thumping his tail. "It was that everyday sound, the summation of all the everyday things she was leaving, that brought tears to her eyes."
I did have some reservations here and there. One of the few parts of the novel I found myself skimming was that detailing the love affair between Mary and Bothwell, where the dialogue takes on a decidedly hackneyed tone. When Bothwell uttered the line, "'Put your arms around me, and whatever happens, do not let go,'" I found myself anticipating the couple's impending separation not at all with regret.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous! Margaret George's historical biographies are always very well researched. Highly entertaining and beautifully written as well.Published 11 days ago by CinMcDN
Always enjoyed a good read about the kings and queens of England, but after finishing Elizabeth the first, I felt Mary Queen of Scots deserved equal time. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nancy Ferrara
I had no idea that Mary Queen of Scotts went through so much. Made me feel totally sorry for her.Published 3 months ago by Annette L. Goldis
The details of the struggle that Mary went through that were not of her making along with the historical details of a tumultuous time in history made this story gripping. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rtc467
Cry, each time I read the book. Saw the opera in Nice, France and it was amazing. But even a lovely opera, can't take you along with how she likely felt... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Freddie
"As they continued to watch the army approach, some of the onlookers became confused by the banners that the army was carrying. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Scamp Lumm