Her Mother’s Daughter by Julianne Lee
Mary Tudor is probably the most reviled monarch in English history. She is known for her burning of Protestants, and not much else. In “Her Mother’s Daughter,” Julianne Lee attempts to humanize, and thereby rehabilitate, Mary. I was a bit wary about reading this, because I’m suffering some fairly sever Tudor fatigue and I have one more book to review in January that deals with the Tudors, and should be getting “Wolf Hall” for Christmas, which is another book that deals with the Tudors. Evidently I was right to be wary and probably wrong to accept this book for review. My Tudor fatigue is very real and prevented me from really enjoying this book (I may have to put off Wolf Hall for a couple of months after Christmas so I can fully enjoy it!).
So, instead of a traditional review, I’m going to point out to you a few things I noticed while reading the book, and you can decide for yourself whether you would like to read it, since I can’t separate my Tudor fatigue from the book’s merit:
- We get some historical perspective on Mary in this book, it isn’t limited to her general time frame, but opens and closes with girls at a slumber party trying to summon ‘Bloody Mary’ in a mirror
- Knowledge of the period was fairly important. Lee did not spend a lot of time holding anyone’s historical hand, so if you know nothing about the happenings during Mary’s life, there are times when you may be momentarily confused. If you have a basic knowledge, though, you will have no problem following along.
- The story was primarily told by acquaintances of Mary’s and those whose lives were influenced either by Mary, or by the things that influenced Mary’s life, some fiction, some not.
- The beginning of each section had a statement from Mary about what happened during that time, almost like the director’s cut of the DVD of her life, followed by the narration of the secondary characters, as noted above.
Honestly, I think that most historical fiction fans who are not overdosed on the Tudors would like this book, as Mary is not often the subject of sympathetic treatment.
Check back tomorrow when I’ll have a guest post from Julianne, as well as a giveaway.