The Lost Tudor Princess
January 12, 2016
From New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir comes the first biography of Mary Douglas, the beautiful, cunning niece of Henry VIII of England who used her sharp intelligence and covert power to influence the succession after the death of Elizabeth I. Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, her father an earl, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin, and grandmother of monarchs. Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was an important figure in Tudor England, yet today, while her contemporaries--Anne Boleyn, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I--have achieved celebrity status, she is largely forgotten. Margaret's life was steeped in intrigue, drama, and tragedy--from her auspicious birth in 1530 to her parents' bitter divorce, from her ill-fated love affairs to her appointment as lady-in-waiting for four of Henry's six wives. In an age when women were expected to stay out of the political arena, alluring and tempestuous Margaret helped orchestrate one of the most notorious marriages of the sixteenth century: that of her son Lord Darnley to Mary, Queen of Scots. Margaret defiantly warred with two queens--Mary, and Elizabeth of England--and was instrumental in securing the Stuart ascension to the throne of England for her grandson, James VI. The life of Margaret Douglas spans five reigns and provides many missing links between the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. Drawing on decades of research and myriad original sources--including many of Margaret's surviving letters--Alison Weir brings this captivating character out of the shadows and presents a strong, capable woman who operated effectively and fearlessly at the very highest levels of power. Praise for Alison Weir's Elizabeth of York "Weir tells Elizabeth's story well. . . . She is a meticulous scholar. Most important, [she] sincerely admires her subject, doing honor to an almost forgotten queen."--The New York Times "In Weir's skillful hands, Elizabeth of York returns to us, full-bodied and three-dimensional. This is a must-read for Tudor fans!"--Historical Novels Review "This bracing biography reveals a woman of integrity, who . . . helped [her husband] lay strong groundwork for the success of the new Tudor dynasty. As always in a Weir book, the tenor of the times is drawn with great color and authenticity."--Booklist "Weir once again demonstrates that she is an outstanding portrayer of the Tudor era, giving us a fully realized biography of a remarkable woman."--Huntington News From the Hardcover edition.
I have a real love/hate relationship with Alison Weir books. Earlier this month I read a truly god-awful one of her’s called The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I. It was so bad, I didn’t even add it to my GoodReads. I didn’t want to be associated with it. It almost put me off Weir forever.
When I saw this cover whilst scrolling through NetGalley, I instantly requested it. It was only after I did that, that I noticed it was a Weir. I was immediately wary. But when I was accepted as a reviewer, I decided to just give it a try. I’m so glad I did. This book totally redeemed Weir for me. Maybe because this book is a historical book and not historical fiction? I’ve never seen completely satisfied with her as a fiction writer. But as a historical writer, her intense research and skill as a writer shines.
When I first started this, I thought it was going to be able Margaret Tudor (yes, I know it says Margaret Douglas on the cover, but I’m just not that bright, I guess). I was surprised when the story slightly turned onto a different Margaret (Douglas), one who I’d never heard about. Now that I’ve finished it, I can’t believe Douglas isn’t a bigger figure in history.
If you love Tudor or general English history, and think you’ve read it all, definitely check this one out. I’ve probably read hundreds of books in that vein but I learned more in this one than in any book I’ve read for years.
**I received this copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**