Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles

( 56 )

Overview

She was a child crowned a queen....
A sinner hailed as a saint....
A lover denounced as a whore...
A woman murdered for her dreams...

Margaret George’s Mary Queen of Scotland & the Isles brings to life the fascinating story of Mary, who became the Queen of Scots when she was only six days old. Raised in the glittering French court, returning to Scotland to rule as a ...

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Mary Queen of Scotland & The Isles: A Novel

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Overview

She was a child crowned a queen....
A sinner hailed as a saint....
A lover denounced as a whore...
A woman murdered for her dreams...

Margaret George’s Mary Queen of Scotland & the Isles brings to life the fascinating story of Mary, who became the Queen of Scots when she was only six days old. Raised in the glittering French court, returning to Scotland to rule as a Catholic monarch over a newly Protestant country, and executed like a criminal in Queen Elizabeth’s England, Queen Mary lived a life like no other, and Margaret George weaves the facts into a stunning work of historical fiction.

Mary was but 25 years old when she left Scotland for the imagined sanctuary of her cousin Elizabeth I's England, there to remain captive until she was beheaded in 1587. George's new novel illuminates the passions of a woman whose birth generated glorious dreams, hideous treachery, and murder.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The best kind of historical novel, one the reader can't wait to get lost in." --San Francisco Chronicle

"A massive, erudite, and entertaining novel that skillfully weaves historical fact and plausible fiction." --New York Newsday

"George has creative a lively, gallant Mary of intelligence, charm and terrible judgment...A popular, readable, inordinately moving tribute to a remarkable queen." --Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"A painstakingly researched novel that makes history live. The author's deep sympathy for her subject renders Mary an entirely real and unforgettable heroine." --Publishers Weekly (starred)

"An evocative portrait."--The New York Times Book Review

"Dramatic...Romantic...George makes Mary a heroine to identify with because of her spirit, wit and charm...A triumph." --Houston Chronicle

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Personal and political naivete lead to Mary Stuart's downfall in George's massive, painstakingly researched novel, a Literary Guild selection in cloth. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
By the author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII (1986), another vast involvement with a legendary royal. The Scots queen (1542-1587), crowned at nine months, shipped out for a French marriage at seven, became queen of France at 16 for a year and a half, then returned to Scotland after the death of the French king—to four years of early triumph and then tragedy, two marriages, warfare, betrayal, power struggles, dazzling escapes, and, at the last, a flight to England—and doom. George has created a lively, gallant Mary of intelligence, charm, and terrible judgment—in outline true enough, and fictionally persuasive. Unlike cousin Elizabeth I of England, Mary enjoyed a richly cosseted and loving childhood and youth; arriving back in Scotland then—a Scotland bristling with religious ferment, plots, and a history of regencies—is a shock, at first bewildering, then exhilarating. But there are the trumpet blasts of Reformed Kirk theologian John Knox against a female ruler (and a Catholic to boot) and the obvious intent of the Queen's inner circle of lords to rule for her. There's also Mary's stubborn, disastrous choice of a husband—the "blue and gold lad," Lord Darnley, soon slipped into drink and debauchery and even murder. Mary's second husband after Darnley's murder (George absolves Mary of a conscious plot) is the Earl of Bothwell, here given an unusually heroic cast. Throughout, there are astonishing escapes, nick-of-time rescues by Bothwell, fleeting interludes of lovers' joys—as well as betrayal, sieges, and abuse, sadly from the people who once cheered her ("the people...with all their pitchforks, fervous and bad breath...mutable...but stronger thangranite"). At the last—another truly terrible decision—Mary flees to Elizabeth I for sanctuary, and is imprisoned for 20 years while the dismayed English queen makes up her mind. With a seamless use of original letters, diaries, and poems: a popular, readable, inordinately moving tribute to a remarkable queen.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312155858
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 880
  • Sales rank: 126,334
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 1.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret George

Margaret George is the author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, and Elizabeth I, among other novels. Margaret first got the idea to write historical fiction when, after reading numerous books that viewed Henry VIII through the eyes of his enemies and victims, she found herself wondering if there might be another side to the story. She became determined to let Henry speak for himself, and it took fifteen years, about three hundred books of background reading, three visits to England to see every extant building associated with Henry, and five handwritten drafts for her to answer the question: What was Henry really like? Margaret was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and has traveled extensively. She and her husband live in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Reading Group Guide

She was a child crowned a queen....
A sinner hailed as a saint....
A lover denounced as a whore...
A woman murdered for her dreams...

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    She lived life on her own terms

    To write about a ruler who had such a tumultuous life is one thing, but to take all of the historical information of Queen Mary's life, combine it with all the historical information of all the countries involved with her and weave all of it into a novel written from her point of view is quite an undertaking. I feel this novel did great justice to the time period, the history and most of all to Mary and all of those who had contact with her. This novel is beautifully written and flows so well. Right from the beginning, at Mary's birth you can almost feel that the die has been cast against her. Time and again, she makes errors in judgement that nearly cost her her life and narrowly she escapes with it. The story makes you feel her high-spirited rash side and how she was not one to really think and consider things before making a decision. Even when she realizes she will not be able to escape her own doom, she decides to defy all and make herself a martyr for the Catholic faith. This novel shows her as a truly brave and free-spirited woman who probably would have come to a bad end no matter what choices she made. This is a must read for any one who enjoys historical novels.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2006

    Mary, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

    Most people have a passing familiarity with Mary Queen of Scots, but it is Margaret George¿s eloquently written book that gives us a clearer and more fascinating picture of the much romanticized and controversial Queen. From her birth amidst Scottish tragic events, we are taken on an unforgettable journey with Mary as she sets out for France as the intended bride of the Dauphin, only to return to Scotland years later as the anointed Queen of a grief stricken country. Scotland in the 1560s was a place rife with religious wars and civil disputes Mary finds herself embroiled deep in political scandals and surrounded by untrustworthy nobles who only pray for her destruction. The book also tells us of Mary¿s doomed marriage to Lord Darnley, the father of her son, James VI of Scotland ( who would later rule both Scotland and England), and touched on the possibility that she finally found true love with Lord Bothwell, despite the attacks on their union. The last years of her life has Mary imprisoned in England while her supposed `saviour¿ Elizabeth dwells grumpily on what to do with her. Mary¿s enemies triumphs when the ill-fated Queen is implicated in the Babington Plot to murder Queen Elizabeth and the latter finally signs a warrant of execution. On 8 February 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, resplendent in a ruby red gown, was led to the scaffold. After two attempts, the executioner held up the severed head of Mary for all to see- marking the end of a sad and tumultuous life belonging to a woman who could have been Queen of Europe¿s three powerful countries ¿ France, Scotland and England. This book was a perfect blend of fiction and historical prose. We are able to enjoy Mary from the cradle to the grave as the writer spins a delicate tale while depicting Mary as an infinitely flawed yet endearing young woman. Mary, Queen of Scots, has impelled questions for centuries : ` Was she victim or villain?¿ Author Margaret George has successfully weaved her into a complex character that neither confirms nor rebuts her as a villain or victim, but rather of a flighty woman who ruled with her heart, only to lose her head over it. A gripping and tragic story told with enthusiasm and attention to detail. As to its heavyweight size, historical freaks will certainly be too engrossed in the novel to be daunted by its 900 page volume. Readers will find themselves immersed in the most enlightening history lesson.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Historical Fiction At It's Best

    Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles is an amazing book! Do not be put off by how long the book is. It is an amazingly quick read because of the amazing storytelling of Margaret George. She truly has the gift of bringing her characters into life and her knowledge of the times is amazing. You can tell the extent of the research that was required to write this book. George does an amazing job of making history fun and even more interesting to learn. If only school books could tell history the way Margaret George does, then maybe we'd all be better off ?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Queen that could have been

    This is a really wonderful book that is a novel but adheres closely to historical fact. Margaret George has taken fragments and scraps of evidence and woven them into a word tapestry that allows you to visualize the scenes. It reveals the treachery and deceit this young woman had to deal with in trying to establish a viable and working kingdom. It dramatically reveals the price for allowing violent religious acts to infringe on areas belonging to the state and people. For example, the individual right to practice the belief of their choice without persecution. It also reveals what happens when a government becomes almost totally factionalized and those factions change sides from day to day. One knows not who to trust. It also clearly shows when she lost support of others, to include the good Queen Elizabeth, most of the clan leaders, and even her French family support. Cecil, in my opinion, committed Regicide by beheading Queen Mary when he had duped her to get the warrant signed. I do not believe Elizabeth ever intended for it to go that far. It must be remembered that Queen Mary came to England seeking help because she had been unlawfully deposed in her own country and believed she would be received by her sister Queen as a supplicant which she shoud have been by law. She was not. She was treated like a common criminal by being quartered in certain forts by Cecil and was never free again. If there is a Hell, Cecil should be right in the middle of it. Read this book. It is very easy to read and you will not want to put it down. It is a book that you read more than once.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What a good story

    It didn't take me long to read this book. To me it was very good. So good that I found myself cursing Elizabeth for what she did to Mary, getting mad at the choices Mary made, and crying at the end. I would totally recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Queen Mary. I'm still mad at Elizabeth! Lol but it was a great read I couldn't put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    Queen of Scotts/ An awsome piece of work.

    Margaret delivers another exciting piece of historical fiction in which, she shows that the Queen of Scott live a very unfortunate life due to innocent bad decision making and being a woman in a patriotic society. This is a must read book and a page turning. Margaret gives such vivid details, that it transforms you into the time period.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2007

    Fascinating story!

    I had a hard time putting this book down. It is hard to believe that these things actually took place. The author adds a good story line as to what may have actually happened beyond the factual events. After reading this book, it made me want to research anything I could on Mary Queen of Scots.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2004

    By far the best!

    This book still makes me cry, and I read it a few years back...just jumping back on the bandwagon is definitely making me want to pull it back off the shelf...doing that now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    Amazing!!

    At first I was a little intimidated by the length of the novel but once I started reading, there was no putting it down. I loved this book!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2003

    MAJOR PAGE TURNER

    Best book ever! Very insightful. brings you right into the life and times of Mary.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    Lost Interest

    This started out really good and kept me entertained until Mary loses her title. It started to d r a g then I started to feel bored just thinking about picking it up again. I love this type of fiction but it has to keep my interest...maybe in the future I will try to finish it.

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  • Posted January 30, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles is a very interesting and well-written book and I would definitely recommend it. The best part of reading it on my Nook is that I can enlarge the font which helps eliminate my previous eye strain!

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    filth and debauchery

    This novel now rests as ashes in my fireplace, unfinished.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    mary, queen of scots

    Good biography but too long and too detailed on unimportant side details....childhood, fashions, scenery, but important battles were conducted in a few parahraphs and deaths of some key figures in one sentence ! Over 1100 pages was just too much.

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  • Posted March 27, 2011

    A disappointment

    Having read Margaret George's spectacular, Autobiography of Henry VIII, I looked forward to Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. It lacks the depth of Henry VIII; the writing is superficial.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 6, 2011

    A Long Book Doesn't Deliver a Good Story

    My complaint about this novel is the unnecessary sexual details that Margaret George deluges into the character of Lord Darnley. For the other faults of this novel, namely that it is plotless the first three-hundred pages, and her characters are inconsistent with themselves to become unbelievable. The sexual grossness of Darnley makes the book unentertaining, gross, and unattractive. I feel gipped out of a good story and my hard earned money.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellently Written

    Margaret George did an amazing job writing this! Mary was so believable. I felt like I was actually her at times, and could feel her emotions. Definitely a great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2007

    MARGARET GEORGE IS AMAZING

    margaret george captures the romantic, wily, tragic queen perfectly. i'm pleased that she was neither made to resemble a 100% innocent martyr NOR a heartless, overambitious villain, as tends to be done in many other accounts. margaret george is a wonderful writer. She does write a lot of dialogue. in between all the talking, however, she alternately paints lovely emotional landscapes, feelings of terror and paranoia, swashbuckling adventure, frustrating politics, and beautiful descriptions of the land. THIS STORY HAS IT ALL!!! She is a gifted story teller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2007

    A nose wrinkler!

    Nothing against George, I think she is a wonderful writer, and wrote this book very well. However, Mary's life was nothing to write about in my opinion. The book was very boring, her life bland. Going into the book, I thought well of Mary, and held her aloft in my mind, as I would any royal person in the past I was familiar with. But now, reading her story, I can't believe she has managed to actually have a story. She was weak, didn't do anything for herself, or her people to better the country. The only reason people seem to write about her is because her country was wrongly taken away from her. That's fine. Many a ruler has had problems, lost their country, etc. But to merit an 800 plus page story about just that fact? No. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. I want my twenty bucks back! :'

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2006

    Must admit I was impressed

    What a story. Who knew. A friend recommended it and I had reservations about reading some huge book about a queen. Wow. Glad I read it. It has everything in it that a fictional writer could cook up.(seriously..I had to google parts to make sure she wasn't making things up). I really enjoyed the story and history lesson. Could be shortend just a tiny bit, but other than that it was great!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews

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