Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Her Mother's Daughter

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

Age Group: Adult
Published: December 1, 2009 by Berkley Trade
Format: Paperback, 336 pgs
Source: To Review

Description: 

Her name was Mary Tudor. First of the Tudor queens, she has gone down in history as Bloody Mary. But does she deserve her vicious reputation?

She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, and half-sister to Edward VI and Elizabeth I. Mary Tudor’s life began as the sweetly innocent, pampered princess of Wales—until the age of eleven when the father she adored cast aside the mother she worshiped and declared Mary a bastard. Only after years of exile did Mary finally rise to the throne alongside the man who, aside from her father, was her greatest love—and her greatest betrayer.

Told by Mary herself and the people around her, this grand-scale novel takes us back to the glittering court of sixteenth-century England, and tells the tragic story of a fascinating, largely misunderstood woman who withstood the treachery and passion around her only to become one of England’s most vilified queens.


My Thoughts:

After reading Lee's take on Mary, Queen of Scots, I had high hopes for what she might do with Queen Mary Tudor. Bloody Mary is one of the most hated and reviled monarchs in English history and Lee has uncovered a side of her that shows Mary as a sympathetic character.

I'm not usually a fan of prologues, but as soon as I opened the book and started reading I was hooked, and it was the prologue's doing. From then on everything just kept getting better. Mary was not a vicious woman, determined to kill all who stood in her way. She was a caring queen who wanted to save her people; an obedient daughter; a loving wife; and, above all, she was a devout Catholic determined to do God's will.

Her Mother's Daughter is the heart-wrenching tale of Queen Mary Tudor and how her unfaltering faith ultimately destroyed her life. There were times, many times, when I wanted to reach out to Mary myself in an attempt to console her. How could anyone possibly think ill of such a woman? She was merely standing by her beliefs, and she treated the Protestants the same way her fellow Catholics had been treated when her father Henry VIII split from Rome. With every page, Mary's side of the story becomes more real and believable until it ends in one swift, sad moment that leaves you wishing there had been more at the end, at the very least for Mary.

Things really started to pick up in the last fourth of the book, not to imply that the rest of it was slow, and I couldn't put it down. I watched as the Queen's life fell to pieces around her. I wanted nothing more than to cry for her, with her. She had done nothing wrong, yet life seemed determined to beat her down.

Julianne Lee provides a beautifully written depiction of one of the world's most infamous women that makes you question Mary Tudor's reputation as the queen everyone knows as Bloody Mary. I loved this book, as sad and wonderful as it was.

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4 comments:

Jade said...

Um, I have I told you about my secret fetish for Tudor England? Dude, I'm like an expert. I own all the biographies by Alison Weir. Yeah, I'm a hardcore fan.

(Don't tell.)

Tianna said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the review. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds interesting - historical figures tend to become stereotypes after a while. It's good to see someone treating her as human.

Jaimie said...

I'm reading a historical novel at the moment too. Sometimes you just get that craving... It's Nefertiti, and don't ask me the author's name.

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