Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles is the story of a woman born to rule a nation -- and the glorious pageant of love and tragedy that followed in her wake. Mary's beauty inspired poetry -- yet her birthright engendered hideous treachery and terrible, bloody murder. This novel is Margaret George's magnificent recreation of the life of one of ...
Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles is the story of a woman born to rule a nation -- and the glorious pageant of love and tragedy that followed in her wake. Mary's beauty inspired poetry -- yet her birthright engendered hideous treachery and terrible, bloody murder. This novel is Margaret George's magnificent recreation of the life of one of history's greatest legends. A woman accused of murdering her husband to marry her lover. A woman who became Queen six days after her birth in 1542 -- only to be beheaded forty years later on the orders of her cousin, Elizabeth I ...
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This is not a 'history' book...it's an 'historical novel' based on meticulous research and written by a supremely gifted master story-teller.
I'm one of Ms George's biggest fans...and in my opinion she has harnessed the ability to 'time-travel' us to the people and places she writes about. Simply put...'you-are-there'.
Read the author's 'Afterword' before you read her books...she tells you about her extensive research...what is based on historical fact...(I would venture to say 90% of it)...what is conjecture...what her thought process was in writing the book.
Sit back...savor her writing...enjoy the journey...be prepared to be mesmerized.
I was...and always am.
Dec 3, 2009
excellent read. very well written with lots of history. loved it!
Nov 9, 2007
worth the time!
Wow. That's the best way I can sum up the way I felt about this book. I can't imagine undertaking to write such an epic piece. Margaret George did, though, and I applaud her for her bravery. This book stretches Mary's infantile crowning at the age of nine months through her marriage to the French prince and subsequent assention to the French throne at the age of sixteen, her return to Scotland for a brief reign followed by decades of war, betrayal and puolitical turmoil to her final sad end in England, where she pled for and was denied what she believed to be her rightful exoneration.
Reading this book was time consuming but so very worth the time. I found Margaret's portrayal of Mary quite believable and quite motivating. The Mary of George's novel is a captivating woman. She is not without fault, but it is so hard to condemn her due to her amazing intelligence, charm and vivacity. She is not a glorified demigod as Elizabeth I is often made out to be. Rather, she's a human woman with sins and faults just like the rest of us...she just happened to have a greater share of elan...of joie d'vivre....of LIFE that made her shine out in a blaze of glory and made her so unwilling to be ordinary. Placed in a world of religious unrest and political intrigue, is it any wonder that she became such an icon? Or that she inspired such loyal followers...even to the few women that gave up their own lives and freedom to live in captivity with her, right up until her execution? Even recognizing her faults and her sins, I still find myself admiring her devotion to her religion, her passionate nature and her strong personality that refused to admit that she was anything less than a queen. In some ways, I wish I was just as bold! I feel that George answers many of the questions that still arise about Mary's motives and actions very well....though she may not be right, her theories are certainly very credible. The way she supports her theories with original letters and documents is superb. She blends fiction and fact so well that it's hard to know where one starts and the other begins! That, I think, is one of the best criteria for a great historical novel.
Although there were several quotes from the book that inspired me and made me think, my favorite was the simplest of them all: "Hope is a straw hat hanging by a window covered with frost." I think that completely sums up the essence of Mary's nature: eternal hope.
Jul 17, 2007
WHAT A LIFE
THIS NOVEL IS A FICTIONAL ACCOUNT OF A QUEEN WHO MADE DECISIONS BASED ON HER HEART NOT HER HEAD. ALTHOUGH SHE LED A FASCINATING LIFE IT WAS ULTIMATELY A VERY TRAGIC ONE AS HER LIFE ESSENTIALLY ENDED BY THE TIME SHE WAS TWENTY FIVE ALTHOUGH SHE DIDN'T ACTUALLY DIE UNTIL SHE WAS IN HER FIFTIES. A WOMAN WHO WAS TOO TRUSTING SHE EVENTUALLY WAS BETRAYED BY MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN HER LIFE. THIS WAS TRUE ESPECIALLY OF THE MEN INCLUDING HER BROTHER, HUSBAND AND SON. THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL THOUGH WAS BY HER COUSING ELIZABETH I.
Apr 7, 2007
This biographical novel about Mary Stuart reads like an exciting adventure novel. I didn't know anything about her at the beginning , but at the end, I felt like an expert, as it goes into great detail about her life. It was never slow or boring however and the author didn't have to fabricate much to make it exciting. One thing the author admits to exxagerating is the passion between Mary and her third husband,the Earl of Bothwell, as history doesn't seem to believe there was much romance between them. Margaret George says she just wanted Mary to have a little happiness in her life. There certainly wasn't much. I highly recommend this book, and then read a book about Elizabeth I and compare the two. Which one makes a better role model?
Publishers Weekly, 1993-08-09 Personal and political naivete lead to Mary Stuart's downfall in George's massive, painstakingly researched novel, a Literary Guild selection in cloth. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly, 1992-08-03 From the author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII comes another massive, painstakingly researched novel that makes history live. Like all tragic figures, George's Mary Stuart has a flaw: a personal and political naivete, misunderstood to the end, that leads to her downfall. Recreating the Elizabethan era with a sure eye for telling detail, George uses her entirely plausible vision of Mary's private life to explain the failures of her public one. Mary's story becomes an allegory for the victory of morality over human weakness; her reign, a symbol of the abuses of rule by ``divine right''; her death, of the triumph of the rule of law. Readers will empathize with Mary's pain over an unhappy first marriage, the wrenching upheaval of adultery and her searing realization of trust misplaced and loyalties lost, finally coming to know with her the peace of a soul at rest in God and the glory of a meaningful death. With her use of authentic period language, her gifts for assured pacing and accomplished characterization, and her ability to convey the complex political issues and intrigues of 16th-century England and Scotland, George has created an engrossing novel. Moreover, her deep sympathy for her subject renders Mary an entirely real and unforgettable heroine. 150,000 first printing; major ad/promo; Literary Guild selection. (Sept.)
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