Thursday, June 03, 2010

Book Review: THE ROYAL ROAD TO FOTHERINGHAY by Jean Plaidy

In typical Plaidy fashion Jean brought out the heart and soul of the complicated life of Mary Queen of Scots. This is the best Mary book I have read to date hands down. Who would figure that so much drama could go down in 320 pages? Besides all the above it actually went quite well after “The Confessions of Catherine De Medici” by C.W. Gortner. Though Plaidy fashions Catherine as threatening menace from the young queen of Scots point of view. I find it funny how one book can change your whole prospective on a person and it follows you to other reads. Those types of reads are good reads and this one is no exception to great good read standards.

In truth Mary Queen of Scots was a woman who was “ruled by her emotions” . In the beginning I wondered Fotheringhay…why does that sound familiar? Fotheringhay was the end of the road for Mary and her execution took place there. I always wanted the whole story on her years before captivity in England. What was it that led Mary to be considered a martyr and what really happened in Scotland?

Mary’s life was a complicated one from the beginning, she was proclaimed queen as a baby and her mother was regent. Scotland at this time was in conflict with the royals because Scotland’s people were devout Protestants and the royals were stanch catholics. With the conflict at a high point and Henry VIII nearly beating on Scotland’s door for Mary she had to flee. There is not a more beautiful place you could escape to in the world other than France in this read the luxuries of France were bursting at the seams. Mary found herself in the center being constantly petted and loved for her profound beauty. She was brought up in the royal nursery with her would be husband the later François II, it was always known that François would not be too long for this world. How different things would have been if he had remained.

Sadly after François II passed the not so friendly dowager Queen Catherine De Medici said in not so many words for Mary to kick rocks on her own in Scotland. Mary was distraught to leave her powerful Guise family and the luxury that was France. Mary was not meant for Scotland she was as delicate flower among barbarians. She was more gullible then I ever thought possible, gullible to believe people including her own family’s loyalty.

Plaidy covers it all from the glittering luxury of France with it’s Casanova courtiers, to rough Scotland highlanders who wore they Protestant beliefs as a badge of honor, spies on all sides, murderous plots, blood turning on blood, and delicate Mary always found herself in the middle constantly taking the wrong steps that would only eventually lead to Fotheringhay.

5/5 Loved it, perfect for anyone who wants the straightforward story of what most likely happened to Mary in Scotland. I had heard this was the best and now I have to confirm it is the best. Poor Mary she had no street smarts and just fell for the wrong idiots. I always love a good Mary read she is always going to be a person of interest.

PG-13 for violence
FTC: This book is from my personal collection.

Amazon

10 comments:

  1. Wonderful review! I absolutely adore Jean Plaidy. I have yet to read her Mary Queen of Scots novels, but I definitely intend to. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. You have me convinced! I must read it!

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  3. Thanks for the review. I haven't read this one yet, but I did read one of her Catherine de medici novels, and she didn't portray her has mean there - it's funny how it can vary just within the same author.

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  4. I just finished this one recently and I also highly recommend it to others who want to know more about Mary's earlier years. Great review! Thanks!

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  5. I really liked this one as well - one of the better books by Plaidy. I'm looking forward to reading the second book (hopefully this year some time).

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  6. I concur with you and the commenters.. it was a great read on a figure that normally is not very well liked.
    I love your comment of kicking rocks on her own in Scotland. You are just too funny sometimes!

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  7. This Miss, I love Plaidy too she just makes sense of so many people. I waited for this one for some time but it was well worth the wait.

    Almybnenr, yes must read for any Mary lover.

    Dolleygurl, I have not read any of the Catherine books by Plaidy. I guess she was more mean from Mary's point of view because Mary was used to being petted and Catherine did not do that to her.

    Amy, I can not wait to read the next one Captive Queen of Scots, I have to reprint cover with the painting with the light green. It is a pretty book.

    Daphne, great minds think alike and I have to agree besides The fist book in The Loves of Charles II (The Wandering Prince) and The Queens Secret this one is a new top favorite now.

    Marie, I know Mary is one of those HF people either you love her or not. My greatest interest in her was that she was a man lover since she was married 3 times, and that she was so different from Elizabeth I. Two women who could not have been more different.

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  8. I've never read a book on Mary queen of Scots!

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  9. I love Plaidy and if you say this is the best book on Mary it has to be. Thanks for this review.

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  10. Brooke this would be a perfect one to start with.

    Mystica, I have read a few on Mary the most far fetched was Carolly Erickson's "The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots". I finished it but the historical accuracy towards the end went into beyond far fetched. I think this Plaidy one is the best because it covers the details of France, Scotland, and then to England. Her captivity years are covered in a whole different book "The Captive Queen of Scots" though . I realized from this read that because Mary was coddled all her life she lacked what we would call "street smarts" or even common sense. Poor girl never had a chance , I am a avid Mary lover either way.

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