Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Terry reviews #Tudor #HistFic Mary: Tudor Princess by @tonyriches

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading MARY: Tudor Princess by Tony Riches


4 out of 5 stars

Like many people, I have an unquenchable thirst for good fiction about the Plantagenet and Tudor period.  I wondered if Mary Tudor’s story in itself would be enough to sustain a novel, but was pleased to see that it added to my knowledge of the Tudor period and I liked the way the author used her story to produce another, interesting perspective on that of Henry VIII, as Mary fretted over the troubles with France and watched the fortunes of her friend Queen Catherine plummet.

There are some clever ideas in this tale of Henry’s sister, such as placing the thirteen-year-old Anne Boleyn as her maid, on the night of her wedding to King Louis of France.  Whether she really was or not I don’t know, and neither does it matter, though we are given the information that Anne became one of the ladies of Mary’s bedchamber.  That the reader knows more about what was happening at court than the protagonist is a smart move, as we turn the pages in anticipation of her finding out; as an aristocratic woman of her time, Mary’s life was, of course, subject to the machinations of the men who controlled her.  Later, when kept away from court at Brandon’s seat in Suffolk, she knew only what she heard from others, which included very little of her own husband’s infidelities.

As is usual with Tony Riches’ books, it is clear that much research has been undertaken without it ever seeming research-heavy, a skill I always admire.

Given that the story is of a whole life, and a not uneventful one, this is not a very long book and at times I felt that more detail might have made it more absorbing, for instance in the development of Mary’s first, brief marriage to King Louis of France, of Charles Brandon’s feeling towards her, of the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, and the loss of her first son.  I didn’t feel I knew Mary until half way through, and at times it seemed the story was being somewhat raced through as new characters emerged, older ones died off until, had I not known a great deal about this time, I might have forgotten who was who; on the other hand, it is written as Mary would have seen it—and novels of Tudor history are always hampered by the fact that everyone is called Anne, Mary, Catherine, Charles, Henry and Thomas!

I did enjoy it and read it in two sittings; I just felt that, on occasion, the story required extra depth to make me feel really involved with the main character and less as though I was reading a catalogue of factual happenings.  It’s as well-written as all Mr Riches’ books, though, and that I read it so quickly shows that I found it a page-turner.

Mary’s death at the end was beautifully executed.  I do love a good ending.  I’d definitely recommend this book as an addition to the library of fellow Tudor addicts.

Book description

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy, the true story of the Tudor dynasty continues with the daughter of King Henry VII, sister to King Henry VIII. Mary Tudor watches her elder brother become King of England and wonders what the future holds for her.

Born into great privilege, Mary has beauty and intelligence beyond her years and is the most marriageable princess in Europe. Henry plans to use her marriage to build a powerful alliance against his enemies. Will she dare risk his anger by marrying for love?

Meticulously researched and based on actual events, this ‘sequel’ follows Mary’s story from book three of the Tudor Trilogy and is set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

About the author

Tony Riches is a full-time author from Pembrokeshire, West Wales, an area full of inspiration for his writing. After several successful non-fiction books, Tony turned to novel writing and wrote ‘Queen Sacrifice’, set in 10th century Wales, followed by ‘The Shell’, a thriller set in present day Kenya.

His real interest is in the history of the Tudors and now his focus is on writing historical fiction about the lives of key figures of the period.

Best known for his Tudor Trilogy, Tony’s other international best sellers include ‘Warwick ~ The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham’. In his spare time Tony enjoys sailing and sea kayaking.

Tony Riches

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13 thoughts on “Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Terry reviews #Tudor #HistFic Mary: Tudor Princess by @tonyriches

  1. Sounds a good read. I too, like many people, love the period, but I know what you mean about names. I read somewhere that inTudor times roughly 70% of men were called Thomas!


    • Ah, I reckoned it was 50% – even worse, then! One of my books is a modern day retelling of the story of Henry VIII and his 6 wives. When I was working out all the characters, I thought, ‘right, which one of these Thomases is going to get the name Tom?’

      More, Cranmer, Cromwell, Boleyn, Culpepper, Wyatt, Seymour….. and surely at least 3 of the Howards?!


    • Sally, I’ve learned so much more about history by reading good historical fiction than I ever learned at school! You should try Judith Arnopp’s series about Margaret Beaufort too, and ALL Gemma Lawrence’s about Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn, they’re terrific.

      I love that Tony writes about the lesser known Tudors. The one about Jasper was a masterpiece!

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  2. I remember reading a book by Alison Weir – non-fiction – explaining that Anne Boleyn went to the French court with Mary Tudor as part of her retinue. I forget which book… it might have been her biography of Anne’s sister, Mary Boleyn? I don’t know!

    I always find the ‘side-notes’ of history interesting – like, this person isn’t well known, but without them, *everything* would have been different!


    • Oh yes, indeed! It’s like when I discovered, by reading histfic, how big a part Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort played in the Wars of the Roses. But then history was written by the men….!

      Gemma Lawrence’s wonderful La Petite Boulain is all about Anne B’s time France as a girl – it’s SO good 🙂

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