Saturday, March 15, 2008
Must Read: Royal Road to Fotheringay: The Story of Mary, Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy
In a Nutshell:
This book is similar to Phillipa Gregory books, but Jean Plaidy had been writing these historical fiction books longer than she. I found this book at a resale store for 50 cents, and I was intrigued. This book was a fictional adaptation of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. This book goes into all the detail of her childhood, love affairs and treasonous intrigue at the Scottish, English and French courts, including her ill-fated marriage to Darnley in which he is murdered and of which Queen Mary is blamed. This poor Queen makes her decisions based on her heart, while her rival, Queen Elizabeth, shuns a husband and makes cool decisions based on what is best for her country. The parallels between these two Queens is often drawn in history, and this book is no exception. In the end, we all know what happened to Mary Stuart. So the questions is, is it better to love and lost than to never have loved, like Mary Stuart? Or like Queen Elizabeth, love all you want on the side, but be married to your country?
As you can see, I am a sucker for good historical fiction. This book was researched extremely well and the character development of Mary Stuart and the people around her was very richly done. You get frustrated with her decisions, at times, and her blindness to Love's frailties, but you also sympathize with her. I also like the parallels drawn between Mary and Elizabeth. All in all, a great read and a different take on Mary Stuart than you may have seen in the movies or history books.