I read a historicial fiction on this relationship after reading this work I will not mention the fiction and I have to say, people tend to romanticize Mary she is highly romanticiz able I find this book gives detailed, scholarly information about the probability of why each woman made the decisions she did, while always including alternative theory, including the basis for it s rejection I ve read a few of these books, and I can say this one is the best Lot s of valuable information and insight Brava Amazing, well presented biographies I applaud the massive research this author pulled from What an undertaking. This book was excellent I read one review where a reader complained that Dunn repeats herself too often, reiterating points as if you aren t going retain them otherwise That s one reason I loved this book The reinforcement kept the important stuff fresh in my memory and left me feeling, by the end, I could probably given an impromptu lecture on characters of Mary and Elizabeth As for the impressions I personally came away with Mary was an unfortunate product of the French court that taught her that rule was hers by right She honed the art of charm but never wisdom Between her chronic self indulgence and her likely manic depressive cycles, she made a life long series of decisions that sealed her fate I have a difficult time with the enduring myth of her Catholic martyrdom her behavior throughout her life was characterized far by self indulgence than faith I felt as though her role as martyr was a last ditch effort to improve her legacy Dunn seems to present it this way Elizabeth, by contrast, became queen by a chain of uncanny events and never took rule for granted She was discerning and so careful in her decision making that indecision contrasted with Mary s trademark rashness was a weakness Her eventual decision to behead Mary can hardly be called a decision at all, as you will see if you read, and even though Mary was skilled at flattery and deference to Elizabeth in their early acquaintance, I got the impression that Elizabeth had genuine feelings for and loyalty to Mary something she couldn t afford to entertain I don t want to take the time to chronicle the numerous and critical mistakes that marked Mary s reign, but I will list three decisions I believe hurt Elizabeth s chances of solidifying a trustworthy relationship with Mary her refusal to ever meet Mary face to face, her stall tactics over selecting a possible husband for Mary, and her refusal to grant Mary the asylum she sought when she fled Scotland Her decision on these matters were complicated by the volatile political and religious situation at the time, and my opinion is an amateur one, but there it is Overall, these historical females were brought to life for me in a very personal way, and I am anxious to read historical books, especially written by Jane Dunn update I have reconsidered my opinion that Mary s devotion to Catholicism was an act in the end I have been reading a bio on her mother, Mary of Guise, and the Catholic faith was a major part of her heritage The Guises were very devoted Catholics, and Mary Stuart s grandfather Claud was a war hero in defending the faith No doubt, the stories she was told growing up about her family s history would have reinforced the faith she was brought up in. i tried so hard to like this book but i just could not get into the book i did not like the writing style of this writer she was all over the place with the storyline about the 2 queens in the book i have not read any other of the books she has written and i didnt think that i will that is why i give this book 2 stars i hated giving this book 2 stars but i had no choice in the matter so i will be reading decked by carol higgins clark. While the subject matter is not new or groundbreaking the amount of well written, important biographies on both monarchs could fill a bookshelf it is the format of Dunn s book which sets it apart and makes it an excellent addition to any Tudor library Dunn weaves the stories of both queens, who never met face to face The result is a fascinating portrait of two very different women who held so much power in their lily white hands In my end is my beginning Mary, Queen of Scots I thoroughly enjoyed this well researched study of two queens of the same generation, ruling in neighboring monarchies on the same island a rare occurrence in the world of the 16th century that held that the natural order of things required a male ruler But instead of making them kindred spirits and supportive of each other, this rarity instead made them life long rivals, and eventually led to the imprisonment and execution of one of them.Mary Stuart was queen from birth, and thus was surrounded by excessive flattery and praise She grew up in false security, and since she was never challenged, she was basically unaware of her own capabilities And her youth, and the political manipulations by others, worked against her.Elizabeth, on the other hand, was in danger for much of her youth with Henry VIII for a father, and his penchant for divorcing, imprisoning, executing his wives, their children were often in jeopardy The lessons she learned from her childhood were that her fate lay largely in her own hands and in how she conducted herself At the very beginning of this book, the author tells us that Elizabeth believed in self discipline and sacrifice, while Mary valued pleasure over duty In the course of the following 400 pages, she presented historical facts and details that proved this again and again For all her charisma and it was apparently quite awesome Mary s self centeredness led to grief time after time, with tragic results. The Political And Religious Conflicts Between Queen Elizabeth I And The Doomed Mary, Queen Of Scots, Have For Centuries Captured Our Imagination And Inspired Memorable Dramas Played Out On Stage, Screen, And In Opera But Few Books Have Brought To Life Vividly The Exquisite Texture Of Two Women S Rivalry, Spurred On By The Ambitions And Machinations Of The Forceful Men Who Surrounded Them The Drama Has Terrific Resonance Even Now As Women Continue To Struggle In Their Bid For Executive PowerAgainst The Backdrop Of Sixteenth Century England, Scotland, And France, Dunn Paints Portraits Of A Pair Of Protagonists Whose Formidable Strengths Were Placed In Relentless Opposition Protestant Elizabeth, The Bastard Daughter Of Anne Boleyn, Whose Legitimacy Had To Be Vouchsafed By Legal Means, Glowed With Executive Ability And A Visionary Energy As Bright As Her Red Hair Mary, The Catholic Successor Whom England S Rivals Wished To See On The Throne, Was Charming, Feminine, And Deeply Persuasive That Two Such Women, Queens In Their Own Right, Should Have Been Contemporaries And Neighbours Sets In Motion A Joint Biography Of Rare Spark And Page Turning Power Wow I wish this book was 400 pages longer, I didn t want to stop reading All of the reality show dramas of present day have NOTHING on the sensational lives of both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary A fascinating topic, well written by Jane Dunn. Both queens were descendants of Henry VII and as such rivals for the English throne They were kinswomen, but could not have been different.Mary the Queen of Scots, queen at birth, the much protected daughter of Mary de Guise, the pawn of her Guise uncles, the pampered and cosseted future Dauphine of Henry II, and playmate to the Dauphin Elizabeth should have been the direct heir of Henry VIII, but she never knew if she was the heir or bastard, it all depended on whether her father Henry was in a good mood Throughout her life, Elizabeth was insecure, sometimes feared for her life She was slighted, tormented by the fate of her mother Ann Boleyn.The two queens could not have had a different upbringing.Sadly for Mary her life at the Court of France was her undoing, her ruination She never learnt how to shoulder responsibility, how to plan, how to exercise control, all the makings of a queen But did anybody expect her to rule No of course not, that would be the task of her powerful uncles the de Guises.Elizabeth however with no one to pamper her, no one to cosset her, did what she could in her very limited and constrained life, she studied, she learnt new languages, she learnt to plan but most all she learnt to be calm, exercise extreme self discipline and control to the point of eschewing all personal desires That was one of the reasons she never married, for she believed she was the Virgin Queen married to England and her subjects believed in her implicitly, that was one of the reasons her Kingdom had such peace and prosperity On the other hand Elizabeth was ruthless, any claim to the throne was dealt with severity, so many noblemen with very tenuous claims to the throne were imprisoned in the Tower for years.After the death of her first husband King Francis II, Mary returned to Scotland but she was unhappy there, it was cold and the noblemen did not much care for the frivolity of the French Court, that was when everything started disintegrating for Mary Although Elizabeth promised to meet Mary she just vacillated, to some extent these delays and the impressions one had of the other from the various emissaries exacerbated the gulf between them Mary was beautiful, extremely charming, everybody loved her but she was terribly lonely and lacking Elizabeth s fortitude believed that to govern her country Scotland, she needed a husband to help her or do it himself, much like her uncles would have done.This is when Elizabeth failed Mary completely, she just refused to grant her permission to marry, Mary getting and desperate, lacking the strength and fortitude, ended up with two disastrous marriages and her subsequent flight to England seeking asylum This plunged Elizabeth into a precarious position if not an extremely dangerous one Could she have saved Mary Maybe, but most possibly not There were so many extenuating circumstances her councillors were of the opinion that Mary should be beheaded immediately to save England And so it was done I do not understand how this book has such a high rating It simply is not that good In fact, one of the few positive things I have to say about it is that the narrator was fantastic, my favorite female narrator, Donada Peters The other slightly positive thing I have to say about the book is that Ms Dunn s premise set out in the introduction is admirable She claims that this will be a dual biography focused on the events that shaped each woman s characters and interactions in a roughly chronological format It s too bad that she doesn t even come close to supporting her premise.This narrative is all over the places both in time and setting not to mention characterization She starts off by describing Elizabeth s coronation but then abruptly back tracks to chronicle Anne Boleyn s rise and fall from power That s just one especially egregious example A simile that occurred to me while reading is that Dunn is like a hummingbird that flits from flower to flower never drinking deeply While some histories must skim the surface college textbooks for example most do not In my opinion, Dunn s historiography is abysmal She also repeats frequently She uses some of Elizabeth s famous quotes two even three times to illustrate the same points This is yet another example of her poor historiographical skills Apart from a few events in Mary s life, the only thing that I learned from this book is that the two women never actually met That astounds me It also compels me to find a decent biography of Mary, Queen of Scots I highly recommend that all people stay far away from this book, especially if one is an amateur or professional historian or lover of history.
Jane Dunn is a leading biographer, the author of Moon in Eclipse A Life of Mary Shelley, A Very Close Conspiracy Vanessa Bell and Virginia Wolf, and Antonia White A Life Elizabeth and Mary Cousins, Rivals, Queens was published in the spring of 2003 and spent seven weeks in the top ten of the Sunday Times bestseller list A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Dunn lives near Bath with h
- 480 pages
- Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
- Jane Dunn
- 24 February 2018 Jane Dunn