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Old 09-23-2009, 04:45 PM
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Default Mary, Queen of Scots

Can anybody recommend a really good novel about Mary Queen of Scots? It does seem to me it would be difficult to write something exciting about a woman who was (a) apparently not very bright and (b) imprisoned much of her life. But the main character in As Meat Loves Salt was not bright at all, and that was one of the best novels I'd read in a long time. And the part of The Traitor's Wife in which Eleanor was in prison was tremendously exciting - the best part of the novel, I thought. So it can be done!
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:11 PM
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That is the million dollar question isn't it? As well written as Margaret George's was I was quite bored towards the end and was only able to finish it up as my treadmill book. I have Reah Tannahill's book on Mary on the pile but not sure when I'm getting to it. Boswell Baxter's read this one if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:19 PM
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The Margaret George book is my favorite Mary QS novel. I also enjoyed Reay Tannahill's novel, but not so much for its portrayal of Mary, because in the last third of the book Tannahill seems to be more interested in the other characters and Mary becomes almost an afterthought.
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:56 PM
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I haven't read it yet myself, but several HF fans who normally share my taste in books have recommended Elizabeth Byrd's Immortal Queen. Also, I did a mini-survey on my blog last week, and two people said it was the book that got them started on reading historical fiction. For what it's worth!
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:08 PM
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Jean Plaidy's duology, Royal Road to Fotheringay and The Captive Queen of Scots.

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Old 09-24-2009, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princess garnet View Post
Jean Plaidy's duology, The Road to Fotheringay and The Captive Queen of Scots.
I was going to say that. Those are good books.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:19 AM
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I loved the Margaret George book but it is long. Read the Plaidy books years ago but remember loving them. Have the Byrd and Tannahill books too but haven't read them yet.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:24 PM
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I'd like to see an author focus on Marie de Guise's life and times in France and Scotland, with her daughter featured as a major secondary character. At least up til 1560, then maybe finish out Mary of Scotland's life and times. The mother seems a lot more interesting to me than the daughter.

I haven't read Dunnett's Queen's Play, so I don't how much focus Marie de Guise receives in it.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:40 PM
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Pamela Hill's The Sword and the Flame is about Marie de Guise, as seen from the viewpoint of a fictional character, and Nigel Tranter's Marie and Mary is about the mother-daughter relationship.

One of these days/years I ought to give Dunnett another try...
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:28 PM
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I liked Reay Tannahill's Fatal Majesty, and also the Jean Plaidy pair, Royal Road to Fotheringhay and The Captive Queen of Scots.

As I remember, the Jean Plaidy books are straightforward in style and between them they cover pretty much all of Mary's life. The Reay Tannahill book has more in the way of dry humour (which I like) and covers mainly the period of Mary's personal rule in Scotland. As boswellbaxter said, towards the end of the book the focus shifts to Maitland and Mary becomes a secondary character.

Antonia Fraser's NF biography of Mary is well worth a read, if you haven't already read it. It's very long, but as readable as many a novel, and she maintains a reasonable balance between being sympathetic to Mary without entirely overlooking her (many) faults and poor decisions.
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