The Queen's Sorrow

( 8 )

Overview

Plain and dutiful and a passionate Catholic, Mary Tudor is overjoyed when she becomes Queen of England. After the misery of her childhood, when her father, Henry VIII, rejected her and her mother, Mary feels at last that she is achieving her destiny. And when she marries Philip of Spain, her happiness is complete.

But Mary's delight quickly turns sour as she realizes that her husband does not love her—indeed, that he finds her devotion irritating. Desperate for a baby, she ...

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The Queen's Sorrow: A Novel

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Overview

Plain and dutiful and a passionate Catholic, Mary Tudor is overjoyed when she becomes Queen of England. After the misery of her childhood, when her father, Henry VIII, rejected her and her mother, Mary feels at last that she is achieving her destiny. And when she marries Philip of Spain, her happiness is complete.

But Mary's delight quickly turns sour as she realizes that her husband does not love her—indeed, that he finds her devotion irritating. Desperate for a baby, she begins to believe that God is punishing her. Her people are horrified at the severity of the measures she takes and begin to to turn against their queen, who is lonely, frightened, and desperate for love.

Rafael, a member of Philip of Spain's entourage, reluctantly witnesses the tragedy that unfolds as the once-feted queen tightens her cruel hold on the nation. As Rafael becomes closer to Mary, his life—and newfound love—are caught up in the terrible chaos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Dunn fails to deliver in her newest melodrama, a meandering historical that chronicles the expedition of Rafael, a Spanish retainer sent on what he is told will be a brief trip to construct a sundial for Mary Tudor. But once he arrives in xenophobic and unstable England, Rafael does little but whine about the weather and how much he misses his wife and son. Unfortunately for Rafael, his project is delayed, and while waiting to return home, he becomes infatuated with Cecily, a tender housekeeper who becomes his constant companion despite their language barrier. They fall in love (albeit excruciatingly slowly), but their affair is complicated by Rafael's conflicting feelings for his wife. Mary, meanwhile, plays a very secondary role until a late-book shift in which she becomes a paramount force in the narrative as it tumbles toward a surprising conclusion. Although Dunn nails Rafael's fascination with sex, and her eye for detail remains sharp, much of the prose feels stilted, and the interminably slow plot is hobbled by a wallowing narrator and facile treatments of isolation, religious tension and icy domestic life. (Dec.)

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Library Journal

With her famous false pregnancy and desperate struggle to hold onto her husband, Philip of Spain, while trying to keep her increasingly Protestant realm Catholic, Mary Tudor-the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon-is the queen whose sorrow pervades a critical time in English history. Dunn has moved from successful British chick lit to historical novels (e.g., The Queen of Subtleties)-all, so far, set during the Tudor period. Her preferred method pairs a royal character with a more ordinary soul in the court's orbit. In this novel, Rafael is part of Philip's entourage, commissioned to create a sundial as a wedding present for Mary. When he encounters the queen by accident in the royal garden, she sees him as a sympathetic, neutral ear and asks for more visits with him. While Rafael waits for his project to be funded in an increasingly volatile and rebellious England, he becomes entangled with the English family with whom he boards. Grittier and less romantic than Philippa Gregory's popular period novels, this book is recommended for public libraries with large historical fiction collections. [Fans of historical fiction set in this period might also be interested in C.W. Gortner's The Last Queen, about Mary Tudor's aunt, Juana of Castile.-Ed.]
—Mary K. Bird-Guilliams

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061704277
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/30/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 847,672
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzannah Dunn is the author of ten novels in the United Kingdom, including The Sixth Wife and The Queen of Subtleties, both published in the United States as well. She lives in Brighton, England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    The Title is deceiving

    I thought I was buying a book about Queen Mary, but instead I got a book about a Spaniard. The title and description on the back cover are very misleading. I didn't learn anything new about Mary, and she actually was a very small part of this book. The description should tell that this story is told completely from the perspective of a Spaniard. I was very disappointed in it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I expected

    This book was not really what I was looking for. It was more about one of Phillip of Spain's servants than it was about Queen Mary. It basically was a view from Rafael's eyes of the times when Mary took control of England, not so much Mary's story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    this is an interesting Tudor historical

    Queen Mary feels euphoric that she has become the monarch and thanking God plans to reverse the trend away from Catholicism to Protestantism by her subjects. Being half Spanish as her mom was the ill fated Catherine of Aragon, she feels even more ecstatic when her potential rival King Philip of Spain, a devout Catholic, marries her.<BR/><BR/>Philip sends one of his retainers Rafael to his wife Mary Tudor to build her a special sundial. However, the Spaniard has a difficult time adjusting to the damp climate and worse the mistreatment by the nobles who loathe and perhaps fear Catholic Europe. His project is delayed by the weather and the lack of funding, which adds to his sorrow as he misses his family who stayed in balmy Spain. He is attracted to Cecily the housekeeper and soon they become best friends before falling in love even though the confused foreigner still misses his devoted spouse.<BR/><BR/>In spite of the title, for much of the story line Mary plays a secondary role as Rafael and Cecily play the lead characters; the climax abruptly but exhilaratingly twists the prime role so Mary¿s sorrow becomes known. Through the actions of the cast, the story line digs deep as to what motivates the Queen who never forgot her daddy¿s rejection of her and her mother; his first wife. Rafael¿s constant lament even when he is with caring Cecily feels overwrought as how many times and ways can a protagonist tell his audience he misses his home and family before he becomes redundant.. Still this is an interesting Tudor historical that uses a forbidden romance to provide an indirect look at Queen Mary¿s sorrows.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2012

    I was expecting a book about Queen Mary's feelings and heartach

    I was expecting a book about Queen Mary's feelings and heartach surrounding her marraige to Philip of Spain, and more details about her reign, and pregnancy.
    Instead I got Rafael and his confusing friend Cecily. While Rafael was a likeable enough character, it wasn't till the last two or three chapters that he actually seemd to develope as a character. Before then he mostly just whined about his unreturned love for his wife, and about his young son's obsession with death.
    The last few chapters were more enjoyable then the entirety of the rest of the book, though still not enough for me to ever want to read this book a second time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2010

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    Posted December 12, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2009

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