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A Question of Guilt: A Novel of Mary of Scots & Death of Darnley by Julianne Lee

Julianne Lee
Posts: 6
Joined: February 2010

Post by Julianne Lee » Fri February 19th, 2010, 6:22 pm

[quote=""Jemidar""]I found this premise to be implausible (not just the manner of her traveling but that she traveled at all!)[/quote]

People traveled back then. It was time consuming, boring and wearying, but they traveled. She was wealthy enough and didn't go alone. Why shouldn't she travel? Obviously women traveled less than men did, but that doesn't mean none of them ever went anywhere. And her husband had a pretty good reason for taking her to Edinburgh.

[quote=""Jemidar""]Treason kept popping into my head (although I'm not sure if she was technically committing treason) [/quote]

A case could always be made if the monarch wished it. Henry was very good at that. The question then was whether anyone thought Janet was a worthwhile target, and it's not as if she were inciting discontent. Mostly she flew under the radar, and it was when her husband realized the danger that things got ugly. People do things they shouldn't all the time. Yeah, Janet was taking a risk, but it was a small risk and she was able to accomplish her goal and let it all go before anyone got too stinky about it. There is also that she was a cousin of the conspirators and had protection from a very powerful clan. When they caught wind of her questions, they warned her off, and she listened. Sort of. Once she left Edinburgh and returned to England, the only further questioning was of someone who came to her, and he was also a Douglas.

[quote=""Jemidar""]I also had to smile at her search for truth...surely the truth was whatever Elizabeth l (or William Cecil) decided it was! And you questioned it at your peril!![/quote]

Of course. That's rather the point.

[quote=""Jemidar""]My other problem was the willingness (or garrulousness) of people to speak well of someone who had just been executed for political reasons,...would they really take a stranger asking about Mary Queen of Scots into their confidence under such circumstances??[/quote]

You must remember that at the time Scotland was independent of England. Elizabeth's claim of authority over Mary was that Mary claimed right to the succession of England, not that she had any authority over the government in Scotland. The people who talked to Janet were Scots living in Scotland, and you can be assured most of that country was abuzz with concern over whether Elizabeth had the right to execute Mary. James was king, and had reasons for wanting to keep Elizabeth happy, but there is also that Mary was his mother. And the Scottish nobillity at the time (or ever, really) certainly were not sanguine about Elizabeth exerting authority over Scotland. As a Scot, Janet's concern was certainly valid.

There is also that at the time of Mary's execution, the murder of Lord Darnley was nearly twenty years old and nearly everyone involved was dead. In fact, the only conspirator left was the guy who probably strangled Darnley after the bomb failed to kill him, Archibald Douglas, who was at the time of Janet's trip to Edinburgh the Scottish ambassador to England.

[quote=""Jemidar""]I still have the book so I may give it another go at some stage, but the first time round it was a wallbanger for me. I did however buy the Mary l book which I have in my TBR, so I'll see how it goes before I give up completely on this author.[/quote]

I'm sorry "A Question of Guilt" didn't work for you. Perhaps another run at it will have better success. I hope you'll like "Her Mother's Daughter", and that the framing device doesn't give you too much trouble.

Julianne Lee
"Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor"

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Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Sat February 20th, 2010, 2:06 pm

Thanks Julianne for stopping by and adding to our discussion of this book. It is excellent when a member can give their honest opinion of the books they read, and having an author be willing to respectfully discuss those opinions can certainly add depth to that discussion.

We look forward to your further participation on the boards.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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