Mary Tudor is the only surviving daughter of Henry VIII and his Queen Catherine of Aragon. She is the princess of Wales, Henry’s heir. While growing up, Mary is adored by
her father. She receives a very good education and is a big catch on the marriage market. But when her fathers grows tired of his old, barren queen and falls head over heels for Anne Boleyn, Mary’s happy days are over. She is rejected and cast aside by the father she adores and never sees her mother again. During the rest of her father’s reign, Mary’s status changes day by day. One day she is the most beloved, the other day she is neglected.
When her father dies and her brother Edward ascends the throne, England becomes a protestant country. These are hard time for the staunch Catholic Mary. She is forbidden to celebrates Mass and lives under constant duress. Her brother’s council harasses her household to give up the old faith and threatens Mary, that if she does not give the right example, she will be locked up in the Tower of London. She even considers to flee the country. But Mary stays strong and keeps loyal to her faith. The pope is God’s representative on earth, not the king.
In 1553, after years of being threatened and bullied first by her father, then by her brother, Mary ascends the throne as Mary I. She is resolved to bring England back to the true, catholic faith and will do anything in her power to prove she is as good a ruler as her father was.
I was glad when I finished this book. It’s only the second book I’ve read that has Mary as its prominent character and was exited to read about the slandered and vilified queen, but this was a bit of a let down. The book makes it clear it wants you to rethink everything you know about ‘Bloody Mary’. But in the end, it’s to shallow to accomplish that.
Julianne Lee show how Mary felt during the days of her mother’s divorce and her father’s turbulent love life, but the book advances very quick during those days. In a blink of an eye, Henry is dead and Edward sits on the throne. I would have appreciated a bit more on how Mary felt during Henry’s other marriages. Perhaps it made the story slow down and that’s why the author decided to let those years out.
What bothered me more was that historical events during Mary lifetime are over simplified and people often seem very one dimensional. Their is no depth in their characters, perhaps to not confuse the reader with complex plots. Also, the title of the book is constantly repeated. In every move Mary makes, she states her mother would have done the same. After a while it gets boring. The same goes with the changing POV’s. Although, I have to say, in some parts of the story it worked a bit.
Publisher: Berkley Trade