Ug I knew it was too good to be true that I should enjoy historical fiction Remember the old granny in COLD COMFORT FARM that saw something nasty in the woodshed Well, I know what she saw She saw page 304 of this damn book There I was minding my own business halfway thru this not terrible novel when I of a sudden i saw something beyond nasty I stopped reading just in time but the imagery haunted my eyes the rest of the day I was completely irritated Why in the hell would the writer, of no mean talent, ruin YES, RUIN a perfectly decent book by turning so, well, NASTY Jeesh, I m beyond irritated I don t even see the point of it VULGAR, CHEAP, TACKY, LOW CLASS. Margaret George has rescued Mary from the history books and brought her to life as a vibrant, compelling, and astonishingly modern heroine This Mary talks and thinks like a modern woman, yet her actions are absolutely true to the spirit of the times and the known facts about her life Sometimes the language is a bit too modern, as when Mary describes her gorgeous husband Lord Darnley as looking good enough to eat during their wedding feast And the sex scenes leave absolutely nothing to the imagination Even after Darnley begins to drink too much and make trouble, Mary makes excuses for him, crying in secret and confiding to the reader, even when I knew the truth to my shame and against my will I still wanted him In truth I burned for him Mary may never have said this, but her actions make it clear how hard it was for her to break with the cruel but very handsome Darnley George reveals every detail of Mary s daily life, right down to the perfume she used and her lazy mornings in bed It s very revealing when Bothwell Mary s next husband after Darnley comes into her room unannounced one morning and tells her she needs to get off your backside and rule, lass The people need a queen, not a sleeping statue Mary thinks she is through with love, but Bothwell insists on marrying her to protect her from the plots and treachery of the other nobles the ones who murdered Lord Darnley Much to her own surprise, Mary goes from fearing Bothwell to enjoying his company, sharing his bed willingly and even crying in his arms when he is forced to leave her at the end Rough he was, plain talking and without grace but true to me, always And in his own way, tender Some reviewers complain that George spends too much time on the sad years of Mary s life when she was a prisoner in England, locked up at the command of her dearest friend Elizabeth But the details of her captivity are interesting, and even glamorous secret visits from spies, messages written in code The only good thing to say about Queen Elizabeth is that she never put Mary in a dungeon Mary describes it as the most luxurious time of my life and the hardest to bear Given her comfortable apartments, you can see why she sleeps till noon on days when there s really nothing to do You can also see why she mentions the mineral baths, the soothing waters that helped me forget since she really needed relaxation Mary was quite modern in some ways She believed in mineral baths, and also massage, as being good for her health She loved exercise in the open air, and she mentions several times that after an open air gallop on horseback, very exhilarating, and a good long dunking in the water, the firm hands of my maids would readily coax the soreness from my muscles Indeed I often forgot my worries entirely, and slept like a babe The final section is not that dull, really Just quiet And Elizabeth, to her credit, seems to have wanted Mary to be as comfortable and well looked after as any prisoner could be Until she decided to have her executed, that is But in the end, what really makes this book so exciting and vibrant is Mary passionate, loving, full of warmth and always willing to believe in people She should have had a much happier life than she did She Became Queen Of Scots When She Was Only Six Days Old Life Among The Warring Factions In Scotland Was Dangerous For The Infant Queen, However, And At Age Five Mary Was Sent To France To Be Raised Alongside Her Betrothed, The Dauphin Francois Surrounded By All The Sensual Comforts Of The French Court, Mary S Youth Was Peaceful, Charmed, And When She Became Queen Of France At The Age Of Sixteen, She Seemed To Have All She Could Wish For But By Her Eighteenth Birthday, Mary Was A Widow Who Had Lost One Throne And Had Been Named By The Pope For Another And Her Extraordinary Adventure Had Only Begun Defying Her Powerful Cousin Elizabeth I, Mary Set Sail In To Take Her Place As The Catholic Queen Of A Newly Protestant Scotland A Virtual Stranger In Her Volatile Native Land, Mary Would Be Hailed As A Saint, Denounced As A Whore, And Ultimately Accused Of Murdering Her Second Husband, Lord Darnley, In Order To Marry Her Lover, The Earl Of Bothwell She Was But Twenty Five Years Old When She Fled Scotland For The Imagined Sanctuary Of Elizabeth S England, Where She Would Be Embroiled In Intrigue Until She Was Beheaded Like A Criminal In In Her Stunning First Novel, The Autobiography Of Henry VIII, Margaret George Established Herself As One Of The Finest Historical Novelists Of Our Time Now She Brings Us A New, Mesmerizing Blend Of History And Storytelling As She Turns The Astonishing Facts Of The Life Of Mary Queen Of Scots Into Magnificent Fiction That Sweeps Us From The Glittering French Court Where Mary Spent Her Youth, To The Bloodstained Scotland Where She Reigned As Queen, To The Cold English Castles Where She Ended Her Days Never Before Have We Been Offered Such Arich And Moving Portrayal Of The Scots Queen, Whose Beauty Inspired Poetry, Whose Spirit Brought Forth Both Devotion And Hatred, And Whose Birthright Generated Glorious Dreams, Hideous Treachery, And Murdered Men At Her Feet First off, you need to be either in the mood for this book or be very interested in Mary Queen of Scots If I d picked this up a year ago, I would have skimmed to the end I visited Scotland in January and hit pretty much every place that Mary had been I ve never been a fan of Mary, but after standing in the rooms where Riccio was murdered, James was born and where Darnley came to his demise, I was ready to read on Mary I first tried Immortal Queen but lost interest due to the fluff I came across Margaret George s version and liked how it was a mature realistic version of Mary s life I downloaded the audio version due to reading time constraints and I fully enjoyed it The author s details of Holyrood, Sterling, Craigmillar and The city of Edinburgh even John Knox s house took me right back to my visit I know that s why I enjoyed this book so much I didn t learn anything new, nor change my opinion of Mary, but I looked forward to listening to this every day. Well I finally finished it Whew 870 pages worth And, you know I really got immersed in it There is a family tree at the beginning as well as a couple of maps of England and Scotland with significant castles and cities noted I consulted them A LOT as I made my way through Mary s life The author spares no details when Mary goes outside or looks out her window or eats a meal, we hear about the flower petals and the birdsong and the scents on the breeze and the texture of the clouds and the different dishes presented at breakfast, dinner and supper and the images on the tapestries and the gleam of the jewelry and the wood grain and the ceiling decorations and so on The descriptions are beautiful and do help to transport you to another time and culture And did I mention that it is 870 pages long So, there were times I admit I felt some tedium After all, it takes 650 pages to get Mary to 25 years of age My favorite thing to do while reading this book was to Google the individual castles and there are a lot of them that Mary lived in or hid in or was held prisoner in as well as the individual people a surprising number of which have portraits and often I could go to Google maps and walk the streets of Edinburgh on street view and see things like where her nemesis John Knox lived on the Royal Mile, just up the street from Holyrood Castle, and just down the hill from Edinburgh Castle Google maps will also allow you to be a tourist if you place the little person icon on the map and blue dots appear, that means someone has taken pix on the ground and uploaded them it s fantastic You can visually walk up to the castle, go through the gates, peer closer at the ramparts, the view from the castle walls, and so on Also, I found Google sites that give you visual tours inside some of the castles so you can see her bedroom and so on Very cool Back to the book I m sad it s over It was like a friend I learned a heck of a lot and it was beautifully written Just loooooonnnnggg. Only if you are a die hard Mary fan In no way am I knocking the author or her research LOVED the auto bio of Henry VIII , but I lost interest about 1 3 the way through and only finished it by using it as a book to pass the time on the treadmill with Maybe it is just me, as I love historical fiction and would typically devour a book like this in no time, particularly anything to do with the Tudors I just couldn t get into Mary s trials and tribulations, as I found her to be silly, vapid and not the queen she should have been Perhaps it was her upbringing in France that set the tone for her future choices However, as stated previously, the author s writing and research is wonderful, I just didn t find myself interested in this particular slice of history. Aww, man I wanted to like this book I just couldn t.Mary was a drag I couldn t really relate to her We got an occasional glimpse into her feelings, but it was always very external While it s told largely from her perspective though not in first person , she still feels distant as a human being We re told she s beautiful We re told she s athletic We re told she s a devout Catholic, and that part was pretty solid Not only did the author establish her religion, but she made it a part of her character It was something that drove her thoughts and feelings and something that shaped what she did in the story The beauty and athleticism, not so much And yet there would be scenes where people would remark how beautiful she was, so we were reminded of it, but that was about it.On the plus side, I knew nothing about Mary, so it was shocking to find out what a soap opera her life was Married three times Second husband, Darnley, was just horrible Third husband was terribly amorous, but their time together was tragically briefI just couldn t get over how UN regal Mary was compared to Elizabeth Or even the Guises She was rarely treated like a demi god She was openly disrespected While I understand that Mary wasn t a big one for punishment, the people around her didn t correct the misbehaviors, either What kind of a castle has such lax security that the Queen s favorite can be murdered at her dinner table Walgreens has better security than that and you don t generally find royalty thereThis whole house arrest thing was odd I guess that proved Elizabeth s power since at a whim Mary s situation could be very comfortable or miserable though she usually had her furniture shipped to her, her people surrounding her and her dogs.Riccio s character was interesting I agree with the reviewer who wrote that his abuse at Darnley s hands was shocking and out of place over the top That bit read like George RR Martin than the rest of Margaret George s book And yet, despite this horrific occurance, there are no ripples of effect A sentence or two will pop in about how bad the Lords were because they allowed this act to take place Mary has nightmares for a little while She misses his music at one point, too But wouldn t you think having the blood of your good friend shed on you, in your home would reverberate Haunt you, perhaps We hear about her childhood marriage than that Guess it had of an impact on her This story definitely puts life into the religious wars of the time and sets the stage for the eventual end of the monarchy Yeah, I dunno I m having a tough time even writing this review There was nothing in this story that made me FEEL anything about any of the characters It was like a history lesson told with paper dolls Riccio had potential and I was so hoping for him to get his revenge, but his story was squashed and my interest in the the book disappeared with it.Only in the end when Mary had her Christlike execution did she start to really come to life as a character But maybe that was the point Just wish it hadn t taken 800 pages to get there Only at the end of a life could the pattern be discerned only then was there a completed weaving to be seen And hers was this since the moment of her birth, she had been an inconvenient person, a person who did not fit in, who ruined other people s tidy patterns.Well written and extremely informative, this was just too long I would have enjoyed this much if there were fewer pages of people riding on horses, on their way somewhere I was also suprised by the romance writing lots of pulsating and throbbing going on , as there was none of this in Memoirs of Cleopatra.I came to this book knowing absolutely nothing about Mary, and I found her life very intriguing and extremely sad Even though this book was not nearly as good as Cleopatra, I still think the author has an amazing ability to show the historical figures as well rounded people, and downplaying all the drama surrounding their lives I also loved learning about Scotland, and how it differed from England at the time Last but not least the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth as portrayed by MG was absolutely fascinating, and I will be reading about Elizabeth soon.So if you are a patient reader than I, and you have an interest in these types of books, this is for you I am not giving up on Margaret George as yet, as I still want to try Helen of Troy.The Story 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 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. It s not you, it s me I just don t have the time to read this hefty book and I want to read something light and fun So in my best Arnold voice I ll be back. Unfortunately, higher ranking females named Mary didn t fare quite so well in British history and Mary, Queen of Scots, was no exception From queen at a few days old, to France, back to Scotland, and then imprisoned and beheaded in England Margaret George reveals Mary Stuart s life in, Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles Those readers familiar with George s novels will find that Mary sticks to the usual stylistic format from the author George begins Mary somewhat slowly using a crawling pace to set the scene This results in some, As you know, Bob style storytelling recalling figures and events instead of truly living through them even though the novel is told in third person narrative form This eventually peels away and the pace quickens, somewhat One of the main issues with Mary is the constant jumping in chronology in the story In one paragraph, Mary is a certain age and then the next she has suddenly aged This causes a disjointed plot and a filter barring the reader from truly getting as deep into the plot as possible George does this in all of her novels, it seems Similarly, one will find that Mary s characterization lacks growth or a true reveal of her personal thoughts and actions Even though Mary is a main character she almost feels sidelined in the action No matter how much the reader loves Mary it is therefore difficult to cheer her on.Although George does mostly stick to solid historical events some of the fictionalized moments are so over the top that they are rendered unbelievable even within the fictional context and are obviously only there for shock value i.e Darnley raping Riccio anally Simply put, these were basically unnecessary and do not add anything to the story On a positive note, Mary is very illustrative with scenery depictions sweeping the reader into castles, Scotland, France, etc Some of the text is on par with literary fiction and is quite flowery but in the best way possible This also can be said for some of the other characters whose personalities often times jump off the page George s climatic events in Mary begin with the murder of Darnley, proceed to the marriage with Bothwell, Mary s abdication, and her many imprisonments Admittedly, George takes some leeway which is not quite historically accurate and follows theatrical strands but these are actually well presented and compelling even for staunch history lovers Mary certainly becomes a better read at this point and much of a page turner One of the main focuses of Mary is on her imprisonment under Elizabeth in England which is presented from the narration of both Elizabeth and Mary This is complex in that both sides have a voice and yet, this fails to dive deep enough into each viewpoint making it somewhat superficial Nevertheless, many figures and characters come in and out each with strong personalities making it for an exciting read The final quarter of the novel sadly feels dragged with too much talking and little happening It can be assumed that George was attempting to build up to the ill fated demise of Mary but it failed to illicit such a response On the other hand, the ending is memorable, crisp, and strongly portrays the beheading of Mary Mary contains an Afterword from the author which discusses some of the historical liberties taken in depth while also noting valuable resources useful to the reader It is worth mentioning that Mary contains 60 letters quotes poems documents and about 50 are authentic and credited which is quite intense for a HF novel Overall, Mary has a slow start and is somewhat choppy throughout but George finds her footing and pens a novel on Mary which is less fluffy than usual Mary is a stronger novel than George s The Autobiography of Henry VIII and carries itself in a stronger light Despite some of misgivings Mary is recommended for those readers interested in the Queen of Scots or England Scotland during the time of Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
Margaret George is a rolling stone who has lived in many places, beginning her traveling at the age of four when her father joined the U.S diplomatic service and was posted to a consulate in Taiwan The family traveled on a freighter named after Ulysses son Telemachus that took thirty days to reach Taiwan, where they spent two years Following that they lived in Tel Aviv right after the 1948 wa
- 870 pages
- Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles
- Margaret George
- 10 October 2017 Margaret George