Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Powerful and ambitious cousin queens at a time when kings ruled Europe, I found this dual biography of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots deeply and doubly interesting. By depicting both personal histories the context of each queen’s life is contrasted and enriched, and Jane Dunn’s thoughtful, vivid writing captures the ethos of their world, the distinctness of their temperaments, personalities and skills, and the subtleties in their conflicted relationship.
Charming, headstrong, and persuasive, Mary became Queen of Scotland at birth and was raised as the pampered future bride of the Dauphin in the French court of Henry II and Catherine De Medici. Insightful, wary, and skilled in the art of negotiation, Elizabeth was very young when she lost her mother Anne Boleyn, and the taint of illegitimacy threatened her freedom, life and reign.
Both Elizabeth and Mary were descendants of Henry VII and their rival claims to the English throne made them adversaries, but as kinswomen and fellow queens on an island outpost of a continent governed by men they had a natural bond and connection that each felt. Elizabeth & Mary takes the queens from birth until Elizabeth's 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada the year after Mary’s beheading and fifteen years before Elizabeth’s death. It’s a fascinating, stirring, and poignant story that’s well told in this book.