The Royal Road To Fotheringay is a historical novel about the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Not to be muddled with Mary Tudor, this book is about the life of a queen who took her title when she was just six days old.
Mary was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his wife Marie de Guise of France. Mary’s father was a Stuart and, although he had other children, it was Mary who was first in line for the throne. Mary’s mother became Regent, protecting her daughter from political and religious threats as she grew up.
Henry VIII wanted Mary to marry his son Edward, thus joining England and Scotland, but when Henry died, Mary’s mother feared the appointed Lord Protector of England. She sent six year old Mary to France, instead, where she became engaged to the young Dauphin. Brought up in the French court, Mary spent more than a dozen years on French soil under the guidance of her Catholic family.
After the Dauphin and Mary’s mother died, Mary was forced to return to Scotland. Here she found herself a pawn in an ever changing, dangerous game of political chess. Stuck between feuding lords, squabbling family and strong Protestant believers, led by John Knox, Mary struggled to rule a people who didn’t know her and had little faith in her actions.
This book gives the reader enthralling insight into Mary’s eventful life, where friend and foe were quick to change. There were many marriage talks, made to strengthen ties and shift power, and the young queen found the path to happiness very difficult.
I really enjoyed this book, the author paints the scenes vividly and makes you feel a part of the story. The dialogue and actions suited the era and the writing style made the book a pleasure to read. I knew very little about Mary Queen of Scots before I read this book, but I now feel I know her very well.
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The haunting story of the beautiful–and tragic–Mary, Queen of Scots, as only legendary novelist Jean Plaidy could write it
Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland at the tender age of six days old. Her French-born mother, the Queen Regent, knew immediately that the infant queen would be a vulnerable pawn in the power struggle between Scotland’s clans and nobles. So Mary was sent away from the land of her birth and raised in the sophisticated and glittering court of France. Unusually tall and slim, a writer of music and poetry, Mary was celebrated throughout Europe for her beauty and intellect. Married in her teens to the Dauphin Francois, she would become not only Queen of Scotland but Queen of France as well. But Mary’s happiness was short-lived. Her husband, always sickly, died after only two years on the throne, and there was no place for Mary in the court of the new king. At the age of twenty, she returned to Scotland, a place she barely knew.
Once home, the Queen of Scots discovered she was a stranger in her own country. She spoke only French and was a devout Catholic in a land of stern Presbyterians. Her nation was controlled by a quarrelsome group of lords, including her illegitimate half brother, the Earl of Moray, and by John Knox, a fire-and-brimstone Calvinist preacher, who denounced the young queen as a Papist and a whore. Mary eventually remarried, hoping to find a loving ally in the Scottish Lord Darnley. But Darnley proved violent and untrustworthy. When he died mysteriously, suspicion fell on Mary. In haste, she married Lord Bothwell, the prime suspect in her husband’s murder, a move that outraged all of Scotland. When her nobles rose against her, the disgraced Queen of Scots fled to England, hoping to be taken in by her cousin Elizabeth I. But Mary’s flight from Scotland led not to safety, but to Fotheringhay Castle…
About the author
Eleanor Alice Burford, Mrs. George Percival Hibbert was a British author of about 200 historical novels, most of them under the pen name Jean Plaidy which had sold 14 million copies by the time of her death. She chose to use various names because of the differences in subject matter between her books; the best-known, apart from Plaidy, are Victoria Holt (56 million) and Philippa Carr (3 million). Lesser known were the novels Hibbert published under her maiden name Eleanor Burford, or the pseudonyms of Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellow and Ellalice Tate.