Mini Reviews of Summer 2016

Mystery, drama, oh my!

Newest novel by Lynn Austin

Book three in the Restoration Chronicles!

Welcome to Burton Book Review!

Historical fiction and Biblical fiction, reviewing since 2008

My epiphany of 2015

Please don't contact me for a review request, I am not accepting any review books.

Best of 2015

BBR's Top 2015 Reads!

Feb 27, 2009

LINKAGE: GIVEAWAY

I found that a lot of online reviewers give away books! I didn't know this till now.
WOOHOO
I must direct you over to Chery's Book Nook, she is having an AWESOME Contest that ends in March for 5 books in one Giveaway!! Find this Contest Giveaway HERE.

Also check out Book Blogs. There are Forums and Groups to join which get a little confusing but there are GiveAways there.

A couple examples that are currently going: Worducopia for "Rich Like Them"
Wendi Barker's Blog at the Book Corner
Carey's Blog for Among The Mad

As I come across more I'll post them :)

Enjoy!

LINKAGE

When I began my obsession on collecting titles by Jean Plaidy aka Victoria Holt etc., (born Eleanor Hibbert) I really did not realize the following that she has currently. Which is always awesome to find others online who share the passion.

Today I was clicking around and found a fairly new Blog site to be devoted to Jean Plaidy and wanted to share that link along with posting it on my link list.

Royal Intrigue

They have started a Jean Plaidy Reading Challenge.. so get on over there and see what it is all about :) ~marie

Feb 25, 2009

LINKAGE

As I come across a new link I would like to go back to over and over when I get the chance to, I have been putting it in the left column under Link List and if it is a Blog that relates in some way to the Historical Fiction/British History category I have been listing it in the Recommended Blogs list.
The link I found today will do damage to my bank account, but will cause happiness at the same time. Of course this is in regards to books.. The Book Depository is a growing online UK store that Ships FOR FREE FREE FREE to most countries (including the USA). And when that elusive book comes out that I don't want to wait 6 months for it to come out in the USA, order it here!! And when I am looking for that special book that was only printed in the UK, order it here!!
I am excited for the possibilites.. they are endless!
This LINK brings you to the "Historical Fiction" category. In the top right hand corner, change the drop down box to $ American Dollars so you can easily convert to the USA price. FREE SHIPPING FROM THE UK! I spent close to $23.00 in shipping alone when I ordered some of the 1972 era Jean Plaidy paperbacks elsewhere (mumble grumble)...

And since I'm here gushing about random book things, may I just add that at the BookReporter.com there is a newsletter that Carol Fitzgerald puts out weekly with lots of fun information about all sorts of books. She writes a nice commentary along with the goings-on in her massive book world. I requested some more focus on the Historical Fiction category (yes, I'm a glutton) and to appease me she sent me a FREE (love that word) advance copy of "Palace Circle" by Rebecca Dean, due out in USA March 2009, which is 4 days from now. Imagine butterflies, hearts and sparkles swimming around my head, that's how happy that made me! It takes place around WWII and blends fiction and events to create "masterful storytelling." I look forward to beginning that as time permits and seeing what this debut author has to offer.

Feb 23, 2009

"The Rose of York: Love and War" by Sandra Worth


This book is the first of a series by Sandra Worth, published in 2003 about the Wars of the Roses. For those who do not know, The Wars of the Roses was a period in England of civil wars from about 1450-1485. Its origins began before 1450 with much civil unrest. The term 'Roses' signify the white rose of the Yorks, the red rose of the Lancastrians. Both of these houses were direct descendants of Edward the III and began to fight for the crown. The Lancastrian King Henry VI had become unpopular along with the company he chose. This caused much civil unrest, along with the fact that King Henry was displaying periods of mental illness. There were many people involved, which becomes confusing to the average reader; therefore, if this is an introduction to this period I would suggest reading this novel first before delving into the many confusing facts of the non-fiction counterparts. About halfway through it starts to get muddled with the names/titles; the switching sides on the factions for Lancastrians versus the Yorkists occurs often. You definitely need to have your thinking cap on for that aspect which is why I suggest starting with this novel before tackling an informative non-fiction encyclopedia style book.
Upon reading this novel, I was immediately engrossed in the story of the small boy Richard who is forced to deal with life and death at a young age. This small boy Richard from the House of York is actually who we know as Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother to King Edward, who later becomes known as Richard III. He feared the "Bitch of Anjou", Queen Marguerite (Margaret) who his family was fighting against. She is the one who was pulling the strings of her husband, Henry IV who was mentally unstable. The book opens where Edward has defeated King Henry, and thus Edward becomes King Edward IV, of the frightened boy's aspect of recently losing a well-loved father (Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York) in 1460 at the battle of Wakefield, and a brother and Neville cousins. I've had this book for awhile and although enjoying the Wars of the Roses period very much, I did not think I was going to be sympathetic to the man who has been accused of murdering the famed Princes in the Tower (his nephews, heir to the throne). After reading a few of Alison Weir's books on the subject, and a book on Elizabeth Woodville by David Baldwin, my brain was inundated with names and titles and dates and multiple facts and theses. Therefore I was not in a rush to pick it up. Again, I was mistaken. I was so enthralled with this young Richard, I could not wait for my lunchtimes and bedtimes to continue his story and learn what was happening in the world around him.
This is specifically the story of Richard growing from a young boy to a knight, and a sensitive young man in love with Anne Neville, Warwick's daughter. Richard Neville, aka Warwick the Kingmaker, helped Edward reach his throne, yet the new King did not honor many of the wishes of Warwick and treated him disrespectfully. This novel gives you a sense of the instability, the emotional tension between fighting for inner beliefs and family pride vs. loyalty to the royal crown. This story defines the true meaning to the phrase "Love and War".
The action picks up when Richard's brother, Edward IV, secretly marries Elizabeth Woodville, who was a widow from the gentry class with two boys of her own. This marriage angered Warwick and the nobles greatly. The Woodvilles were a huge family whom upon this marriage had received many honors, titles and arranged marriages for the clan, which made them even more hated by Edward's Yorkists. Some even believed Elizabeth and her mother Jacquetta were witches for the way that Edward readily responded to their requests. It is interesting to note that the first child of Edward and Elizabeth is none other than Elizabeth of York, who was married to the Lancastrian Henry VII, and from this marriage produced our beloved Henry VIII.
When Warwick and his family of Neville's decide to rebel, Richard's chances with Anne Neville decrease. Richard is loyal to his brother the King, although makes him choose against Warwick, who was a pseudo-father to him. The book deals with the anger and resentment between the multiple clashing families and although informative it is not complete drivel. As noted, it tends to get heavy with the the names and the titles and loses some of the flow halfway through but the story is compelling enough to make you concentrate as you go on. I feel the book climaxed with the Battle of Barnet in 1471 which was so compelling it twisted my heart. I do not want to give away the plot to those who do not know the whole story, so I'll end it here.

I found the writing to be eloquent, and I found the imagery of Richard's surroundings to be well described without feeling too poetic or contrived. It really had a great flow from one chapter to the next, each beginning with its own little ominous and overshadowing quote. I very much liked this depiction of Richard III, and look forward to the rest of the series as well. The author's note is informative also and I may add some of the books she mentions to my TBR pile as well.

I highly recommend this book!


The The Rose of York series titles are as follows:

1. Love and War

2. Crown of Destiny

3. Fall From Grace

Sandra Worth also wrote "Lady of the Roses:A Novel of the Wars of the Roses" in 2008 which is about Yorkist John Neville (who is featured in the current book) and Isobel, the ward of the hated Lancastrian Queen Marguerite D'Anjou.

Feb 18, 2009

Sneaking in..

I read this awesome little snippet of news from the Seattle Times:
"BELLEVUE, Wash. – A man in Washington state made sure a pair of burglars didn't get away with his three flat-screen televisions — he moved their getaway car.Patrick Rosario was in the basement of his Bellevue home on Tuesday when he heard the burglars upstairs.The Seattle Times says the 32-year-old Rosario, who had been laid off from his job as a Washington Mutual manager, called 911 while he sneaked out of the house.He saw a white van sitting in front of his house with the motor running and the keys in the ignition, and he got in and drove it to a friend's house.Police say the burglars left the televisions, a laptop computer and a jewelry box by the door and took off on foot.The sheriff's office said no arrests had been made. "

WOW I love it when the good guys win. But something stuck out. The phrase "while he sneaked out of the house". I really would have thought it was snuck. He snuck out of the house. That sounded right. So I googled sneaked vs. snuck and found another great little snippet that someone more intelligent has already delved into this conundrum.
His article is Here and don't forget your thinking cap. Did we ever do past present and future participles in school in New York? Because if we did I wasn't paying attention.

Long story short, I guess I'll have to strike snuck from my vocabulary and insert sneaked. Yuck.

I am off to find out hanged vs. hung. I am guessing it is hanged because all of my British Historical books are speaking of the hanged people, which again grates on my nerves. But I am sure I am to be corrected that it is indeed hanged. So how come I have hung in my vocabulary too? Was New York schooling so backwards? I wonder what my Texas daughter will be taught. I am going to quiz her tonight and see what her instincts are.

Feb 16, 2009

Review: "The Other Queen" by Phillipa Gregory

I found this portrait on All Posters.com. It is an interpretation of Mary Queen of Scots, and her son, James VI/I.
This depicts the beauty that has always been described of her. Obviously Mary and James were not together for very long so this scene is just from someones' imagination. Also in my 'Images of Mary' endeavor, I found this collection which was quite interesting at the National Portrait Gallery. I definitely could get lost on that site and have a grand time doing so. I can't put pics here from the NPG unless I pay them. But AllPosters does the custom framing for you and I would love to have a library of my own with wonderful portraits of the people I love to read about! What fun!


"THE OTHER QUEEN" -Another novel on Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. It opens up with Bess of Hardwick (LOVE HER!) narrating and Mary is just being 'sheltered' in England. The first impression when beginning this book is I do not enjoy the switching back and forth between narrators. The author had done this before and I did an internal sigh when I realized it was happening again. Sometimes it works, sometimes it gets aggravating. It is narrated by Bess, her husband George Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and Mary. Once you are trying to get absorbed in the story, the chapter is finished and it's time for another narrator to catch up.
I disliked this version of the character of Mary, Queen of Scots right away with her sanctimonious attitude and how near her station is to God that she believes herself to be due to the bloodline of royalty in her veins. Which is how the royalty see themselves and how they are expected to be treated, which is fine. But the way she speaks of it is simply bragging and grates on your nerves. In previous novels Mary is portrayed as being more passionate or sensitive. Here we only get a glimpse of Mary believing she should rule both England and Scotland, and that she is eager to participate in plots of her escape. She disguises herself as a sweet and tender woman but narrates the story as a shrewd woman very willing to promote violence in order for her release.

The novel is opening to where Mary is brought from Bolton Castle to Tutbury in 1568. The positive side of the three narrators is of course you get all three point of views, but it just makes for annoying reading at times. It is rare to contemplate George Talbot's true feelings, most books I have read did not really consider his thoughts on the keeping of Mary, other than I always remember him wanting to be paid more for his expenses. Here we see George becoming enamored with Mary, becoming so much so as to be in love with her. He begins as simply believing that she is a Queen and should be restored to her crown in Scotland. But that is not what the Secretary of State, William Cecil, would like. Mary will always be his thorn since he believes Scotland should be under English command. He will stop at nothing to see her ruined, dead, beheaded, etc.

In this version of George, he has fallen in love with Mary. He does not seem to care for the expenses as much as Bess does. Bess realizes that George is besotted with the Queen, but tells us that her property, her estates, her legacy to her children are more important than any man. She is very upset that George could jeopardize their well-being with their own Queen Elizabeth I due to his quiet admiration of Mary. Let the plotting begin.. one after the other...George and his fellow Protestant lords are eager to marry the Catholic Mary to the Duke of Norfolk, and get sons off of her that can rule both Scotland and England. Poor Elizabeth will not choose a man, will not marry, and this is causing an unsettling feeling with the Englishmen, questioning the succession of the crown. The nobles also despise Elizabeth's adviser, Cecil, being that he is a nobody and not with a heritage of nobility behind him such as George Talbot and his friends.

Bess's narration is perhaps the only thing that seems close to reality in this book. She is a headstrong woman who is adamant to preserve her fortune that she has collected due to her wonderful mathematical ability and the fact the three husbands before her have left her something to add to her estates. She seems to have feelings for George, as they have not been married for long when the story opens up. She soon realizes that perhaps he is not as worthy as he could be once he begins to show his puppy love for Mary. He is to go before Queen Elizabeth to see what part he played in letting treasonous letters and plots be brought to Mary. Bess is outraged that everything that she has worked for her whole life and the prosperity of her future is put at risk all because of George. She falls out of love quickly.

As I read this I have had thoughts that most of the events would not be true. The Earl's love for Mary, Mary meeting Anthony Babington when he is 8 years old, the hatred Mary feels for Bess because Bess is jealous.. The letters to Bothwell while he is in a Denmark prison and pretty much everything else that happens in the last half of the book. This becomes annoying so much so that I have to keep telling me this is fiction, please stop worrying about it. I fight the desire to stop reading it. I do not have much left to read, the chapters always begin with the Season and and Year, and I am still on 1571 which is odd since there are another 16 years left to her captivity. So I looked ahead and the rest of the chapters are 1572 with it finally jumping to 1587 and ending there. Imagine I had to read for the full 16+ years of this yuck?! I don't know how the book will end, we can obviously make an educated guess but I will read it to see how it does end just out of morbid curiosity, since whatever it does end with will be such a farce getting there.

For the average person who just wants a good story, perhaps this is the book for them. If you are interested in Mary Queen of Scots and the events truly surrounding her life, then do not even read the book. It would not be worth the time. I was definitely not as eager to continue the story as I was with the fictional Mary Stuart books by Jean Plaidy. Therefore if you are in the mood for the fictionalized historical account Mary Stuart, I would recommend Jean Plaidy's books from the previous posts, and not Phillippa Gregory. This book just seemed like one character's whine to the next.

I now understand the furor caused by Tudor Historians when Gregory's book "The Other Boleyn Girl" was made into a movie. Many were incensed that this movie would be the cause of such a fascination with British History. I must humbly admit that her book is what drew me to my own interest in this era, but at least I knew better to start reading non-fiction so I could get the facts straight. That was a good book for those wanting an introduction to the Henry VIII period. One must then read a few more books to get a true sense of the era. Phillipa's next book is "The White Queen" and I have dutifully deleted that from my wishlist at Amazon.

Back to this review though: DO NOT READ 'THE OTHER QUEEN'! 0 of 5 stars

(note to self: never never pre-order a book without reading reviews!)

Feb 13, 2009

Alison Weir

A little meandering away from the ordinary review:
I was jumping around Tudor websites today and found a report on a recent Alison Weir event where she discussed Elizabeth I and Henry VIII at the Smithsonian. Alison is a British author of several non-fiction and fiction books. She is not always taken as credible historian and receives a lot of criticism for writing in her non-fiction books phrases such as "maybe" could have" "possibly" and words of that nature that can get aggravating.

However, I will read anything and everything I can get my hands on regarding the Tudors. For Alison Weir's non-fiction I have read "The Wars of the Roses" and "The Princes in the Tower". I have read her fictional "Innocent Traitor" and I will read them all again. I own her (non-fiction) "The Life of Elizabeth I", and (fiction) "The Lady Elizabeth" and plan on reading them soon. Lots of books on my TBR shelf.

I looked on Alison's website and it states for her upcoming book:
Alison's next non-fiction book, "The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn", will be published in the UK on 1st October 2009, and in the USA in December. Alison has just signed contracts with her UK and US publishers for three new novels, one of which will be a sequel to "The Lady Elizabeth"

Fiction: Alison has begun work on her next novel, about Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, which is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2010.

(MORE HENRY II!!!! YAY!!!)

Look on Alison's website for more Events she is attending and the full UK and US Book list.

Feb 10, 2009

The Murder in the Tower by Jean Plaidy


The Murder in The Tower by Jean Plaidy (pseudonym used by Eleanor Hibbert, aka Victoria Holt)
(It's been listed as the first book in the Stuart Saga series, but it seems to stand alone as a James I novel; 1964)
Also reprinted and available as a reissue.
Personal copy
Burton Book Review Rating:FourStars!



"The drama is played out against the background of the Court of James I."
The dashing Robert Carr is a well-known favorite of King James I. After attracting his attention by falling from a horse in the tiltyard, Robert rises quickly through the ranks. But when the cunning and beautiful Frances Howard comes to court, a very dangerous liaison changes everything. Married against her will while still a child, Frances emerges from that experience a headstrong force of nature—determined to have her own way, no matter what the consequences. Her attempts to rid herself of an unwanted husband, and later to ensnare a lukewarm lover, have led her deep into the world of spell-makers and poisoners. This is a woman to underestimate at great peril. But not until Robert finds himself ensnared in one of Frances’s plots—imprisoned in the Tower of London and accused of murder—does he learn at last what she is truly capable of.



After finishing this first installment of Plaidy's Stuart Saga by Jean Plaidy, I would still love to delve more into the characters that Plaidy described. When you think of a Tudor or Stuart novel, with this title of Murder, one tends to think of Anne Boleyn, or maybe Mary Queen of Scots. This novel is actually concerning the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, who is not the main protagonist of this intriguing novel.
The book is based on the life of Frances Howard, and her loves and wicked ways that she uses to attain all that she desires. She starts out as a passionate young woman and we think we like her, but as she grows and becomes more and more of a selfish evil woman, there is no sympathy for her. I did find sympathy for Robert Carr, the man she fell in love with when she was a married woman.

Robert Carr caught King James' eye when he fell from his horse as a young man, and quickly shot up in the ranks with titles and favoritism from James. He is portrayed as a pretty boy who really didn't deserve the posts he had since he had to have another man, Thomas Overbury, secretly do most of the work for Robert Carr. They called Thomas a scribe. One thing led to another and once Thomas realizes that Robert wants to marry Frances Howard, he is incensed. He has no respect for Frances and happens to know she had visits with unworthy people who dealt with witchcraft. Since Thomas would not back down, Frances and her witchcraft friends decided to take matters into their own hands. Supposedly Robert Carr has no idea what is going on.

Even though this book has James I in it, it was only set within the time period of James I and his family. There was a small story line with Frances and the King's son, Henry, and a bit on the royal family and the royal children but not an incredible amount.

This was a quick read, and I definitely loved the deliciously entertaining Frances Howard and her intense need to fulfill her every whim. Although not an influential person by herself in the era, she caused quite a scandal and led a very interesting life which was a joy to read about. Plaidy fans do not want to miss this one, this was a quick read that stays with you.

Feb 9, 2009

Jean Plaidy's THE CAPTIVE QUEEN OF SCOTS

If this is the first time coming to read the Mary Stuart Reviews then I would suggest starting a few posts down with the Fotheringay post and then upwards to the recent Captive Queen Post so that you get the chronological order of my musings. It is pretty tough to keep up with me even that way, but it's worth a shot.

Jean Plaidy has written herself another fun-to-read novel and this was a follow up to her "Royal Road to Fotheringay". I found this book to have a sympathetic view on Mary more so than usual. Mary does not want any harm to come to Elizabeth I, her captor for almost 20 years, and in this (fiction) book that is repeated continually in order to propose the more innocent side of Mary.

As I have not ready many non-fiction or in-depth books specifically on Mary and her involvement in the many plots that sprang up in order to promote her release, I can not say for sure how involved she was.
In this book, Elizabeth is portrayed as indeed wanting Mary to die as soon as possible, because of the religious strife that England had undergone. Before Elizabeth, there was her older half-sister, Mary who had ruled England as a Catholic nation and persecuted the "heretics" with zeal. Smithfield became the place where the executions were taking place and caused so much fear that Protestantism had to be practiced behind closed doors. After Mary I's death, Edward VI was crowned King at 9 years old, allowed Protestantism again through the rule of his Advisers. At Edwards' death, Lady Jane Grey was queen for nine days and finally we come to Elizabeth. She was crowned in 1558, and she was a Protestant.

Mary Stuart was very Catholic, although she vowed she would allow her people to freely pray regardless of their beliefs, since that one God was the same God between the two. Due to this tolerance, some of the English would not have minded Mary Stuart being an heir to the throne, and of course, many of the Scottish believed Elizabeth had no right at all to the throne since Elizabeth's mother was Anne Boelyn, who was beheaded and no friend to the Catholic Church. The Catholics liked to call Elizabeth a bastard and therefore felt that Mary Stuart, as a great-granddaughter of Henry VII, had a stronger claim to the throne.
It was because of these facts that Elizabeth felt a very strong threat from Mary Stuart, and kept her imprisoned for almost 20 years. The book shows how Mary tried to escape several times. The Babington Plot existed due the arrogance and stupidity of Anthony Babington, for it was just a ruse set up by Walsingham, Elizabeth's agent. Babington was executed, as was the Duke of Norfolk for an earlier plot who wished to marry Mary, although they had not met. In this book, it is portrayed as Mary trying not to have a lot of responsibility in the plots, but that she indeed wanted out of captivity. In reality, she was probably much more shrewd and willing to stop at nothing to get herself out of Elizabeth's grip, and to rule Scotland and England together as eventually Mary's son did. There were many plots created in her name, but not endorsed by Mary.

Elizabeth is shown much less sympathetically in this book and is eager to find a way to do away with Mary for good without making it look like she ordered it done.
Eventually Elizabeth gets her wish at the end of this book, and a very solemn Mary is beheaded at Fotheringay. There are some who like to believe that Elizabeth did not know she was signing a Death Warrant for Mary, as it was with 'a pile of papers.'

I will be eager to read more non-fictions books on the Queen of Scots and try to see where the line is between the truth and fiction regarding her involvement in the many plots, and if she truly loved Bothwell or the Duke of Norfolk. And did George Douglas's love for her exist?
I give "The Captive Queen of Scots" 5 stars, of course.

Feb 3, 2009

The Captive Queen of Scots

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.. Found this photo of 'her' at the Reader's Advisor. One can never tell what is factual but this has got to be the most flattering portrait I have seen of her. The books go on and on about how beautiful she was, and perhaps it was also due to her supposed charismatic nature, so this one does her justice more so than others.

I am about halfway through with Jean Plaidy's "The Captive Queen of Scots".. again, I am enjoying it very much as expected. Jean Plaidy must have been a wonderful woman to know; she has written so many books in the Historical Fiction genre, I wonder if she ever set a book down (or wasn't writing one). Jean Plaidy is a pseudonym for Eleanor Hibbert; her other well-known pseudonym is Victoria Holt which dealt more on the romance side. Born in 1906, Eleanor wrote around 200 novels! I own about 52 of those. My project is to own all of the Historical Series. It will not be easy, as many of these are now only found in the UK and of course these are older titles. As I mentioned in my last post on Fotheringay, that book was slowly disintegrating in my hands. We are fortunate that some are being reprinted in both the UK and USA as the English History Buzz has hit the USA since "The Other Boleyn Girl" movie and "The Tudors" television series.
I have read this author's "My Enemy, The Queen" written under Victoria Holt, and enjoyed it very much as well. It is told in first person by Lettice Knollys, Elizabeth's cousin once-removed. I bring this up because I am now at the part in "The Captive Queen of Scots" where Mary is brought to England's Carlisle and Bolton Castle and is cared for by Sir Francis Knollys (May 1568). Francis is Lettice's father. And Lettice was a wonderful character to read about in "My Enemy the Queen" which dealt with her and Elizabeth's relationship and their mutual love for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leceister. Through Lettice, we enjoy a unique view on Elizabeth I. (Lettice is also in The Virgin's Lover by Phillipa Gregory.) Lettice's fate is entwined with Elizabeth as much as Mary's was.. the Queen of England rules all.
Back to the book "The Captive Queen".. Mary will leave the care of Francis Knollys and go to Tutbury, despite horrible weather. It is at Tutbury that we meet the Earl of Shrewsbury. And guess who he is? He is married to Bess of Hardwick, who I wrote of in earlier posts. Such a fine web I'm weaving and loving every minute of it!!

Feb 2, 2009

The Royal Road to Fotheringay




This weekend I finished The Royal Road to Fotheringay by Jean Plaidy. It is the story of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots as she is brought up in the French Courts as she is betrothed to young Francois. (As an infant she was made Queen of Scotland when her father James V died.) It then goes on to her travels to Scotland and her second and third marriage, which were both disastrous and were not recommended to her. To use a word used in the book and which comes to mind often when thinking of Mary's decisions in her life, "Folly".
The edition I own is the same as one pictured (Pan [M197] 1967, 2nd printing Paperback) but it is slightly more used. Where your thumb goes when reading a paperback, my edition has the actual binding off in a little square at the bottom. The knowledge that I was reading a book that came to me from the UK and that it belonged to an unknown person"Merle Horvington" as transcribed inside of the book, brought me a sense of 'vintage pleasure'. I did have to be careful though as several little pieces of the binding was just crumbling at the touch. I was quite thankful it did not have that old book musty smell though it was yellowing around the edges..but not bad for a book older than I am!
Back to the contents of the book. I do not want to give away plot lines or events, but I intend to give a brief review. I truly enjoyed this version of Mary as Plaidy interprets her. I had begun my British History passion with Henry VIII, and then Elizabeth I, so I have had Elizabeth's biased view of Mary till now. Through this book, I cannot but help to feel so much more empathy for her although the decisions she makes in her love life and consequently politically are utterly disastrous and you just want to yell at her. Poor thing was misguided from the get-go. The only good thing that happens is that she and Darnley have a healthy son. The bad thing is that she barely got to see her child as she was on the run ever after and then a prisoner. That son becomes James VI of Scotland, and James I of England whom I spoke of in earlier posts in regards to Arbella aka Arabella and her own misfortune for being born a Stuart.
I have previously read Jane Dunn's Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens which is non-fiction. I can not point out any direct historical inaccuracies although I am not one for noticing for the smaller details. As far as my review of that book I had previously written on WeRead via Facebook: "It was okay.. nothing new and seemed a bit of disorganized. I didn't like how all of the major events were eluded to several times before getting to that point in time. Could never get a sense of time with this book."
I wonder if Mary was simply more in tune to her beauty and cared more for the finer things in life and not brought up to think politically. Since this work is fiction I cannot say for sure.
The book ends as she is abdicating Scotland, and now I have begun "The Captive Queen of Scots." It picks up directly where "Fotheringay" left off and you learn soon the fate of the pregnancy that we learn of towards the end of "Fotheringay".
I give The Royal Road to Fotheringay 5 of 5 stars as a piece of Fiction.
For more Factual information on Mary Queen of Scots see Wikepedia