Review: Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy
Author: John Guy
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Court April 7, 2004
Labels: Mary Queen of Scots, Scotland, France, England, Tudor History, Queen Elizabeth I, 16th Century
Rating: 5 Stars
A National Book Critics Award Circle Finalist
|Mary at age 13.|
Mary was only a few days old when her father King James Stuart V of Scotland died. Her mother was Mary of Guise, she was from a strong political family in France. Mary's father was the son of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII sister). Mary of Guise was regnant of Scotland, until the time came for Mary to be old enough to rule. Mary was crowned queen, but at 6 days old was too young to rule. A marriage contract was arranged between young Mary, and the Dauphin of France. Mary, was sent to France to be schooled and cared for in the royal house of France. War, political climate, and religious tension, were also strong reasons for sending young Mary to France. Several years later when Mary returned to Scotland, she was a passionate vibrant young woman.
Many chronicles have been written about Mary. Some swinging towards one side of thought. As a reader it's hard to navigate with believability some of these works. I wonder how much is the author's unprejudiced research? What information given can I count on?
I believe there are two things that should be considered when reading a biography.
- The amount of documented research given.
- The author's previous and current knowledge of its research.
- The author John Guy's heavy amount of documented research, and his knowledge of subject.
- Guy's infectious writing style, both in clarity and confidence.
- Guy's vivid descriptions, especially in those final moments of Mary's life, were chilling.
- Guy gave an honest dimensional portrait of Mary. He did not leave out weaknesses in her character, nor did he focus only on her positive strengths, nor in what myths about her exist.
- Details of her marriages, her letters, the infamous Casket letters, her role in the plot against Darnley, the relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, and Mary's arch enemies William Cecil and John Knox---these are all described at length in the book.
- Finally, I feel I know Mary as a woman a bit better. She came to life after reading this book, and I'm most grateful for this.
A professor of history at University of St. Andrew's in Scotland. An author of Tudor history.
Link @ Amazon:
Hardcover no longer available, but Paperback is $13.19. Not available on Kindle.
Not available on Nook either.
|Mary with 2nd husband Lord Darnley.|
|James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. Mary's 3rd husband.|