Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the Shadow of the Crown by Jean Plaidy

or otherwise titled: Kris actually finished a book!  Woohoo!

#6 Queens of England series
Copyright: 1988
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Genre: fiction, historical
Pages: 386
Challenges: Year of the Historical
My rating: 2/5

Quick note on the series info:  While this is part of a series, you don't have to read these in order.  From my understanding, each book is about a different Queen's life and therefore it can be read independently.

Simple Description:
This is the story of Bloody Mary, or Mary Tudor.  It starts when she is very young, just a child, and continues to when she is near death.  The story is told from Mary's point of view.  While we don't get tons of details regarding her life, we do get some details.   We learn about her feelings towards her father, we learn about her feelings regarding the several engagements to other princes, and we learn about what was behind her being titled Bloody Mary.

Mary was the first born to King Henry Tudor.  However, Mary was a girl.  I believe most of us are aware that in his quest for a son Henry ended up divorcing his first wife, be-heading his second wife, etc.  It goes on and on.   Eventually he ends up with a son, who is sick.  He makes the son heir to the throne and just before he dies he makes Mary the second in line.

Mary goes from living a life of luxury.  Then her mother is out of favor with the king and she lives a life close to poverty.   Then, she slowly gets back on her father's good side and soon she's fighting for her rightful chance at the throne.   Once there, she makes what she considers the necessary change to bring England back to Catholicism.

Now what you really want to thoughts:
Here's the thing..I can't say I really liked this book, yet I liked it enough to continue reading it.  I liked it enough to say it was worth finishing, but not enough to continue reading more books by this author.  There was something about the writing style that I didn't like.  I think I wanted it to be told "present day" as these things were happening.  Instead, the book is told as if Mary is looking back on her life.  Something about that just didn't work for me.  I also think I wasn't in the mood for it.  I did read this as a buddy read, which is the only reason I picked up this book when I did.  The others who read it with me liked it.  One loved it and considers it one of her top reads of the year.  The other person liked it more than me, but not as much as the other person did.

Most of Mary's earlier life I was already familiar with, thanks to showtime and The Tudors (ok fine..and other books I have read on the royal family).   The book finally picked up for me once Mary was crowned Queen. I knew the gist of what happened, but wasn't too familiar with it.  So maybe I was just more interested in the book at this point.  I'm not too sure.

I had heard great things about this author before reading this one, saying she was such a good historical fiction author.  I agree that it seemed she had her info correct and did great research, but the writing part was lacking for me.

What about you?  Have you read others by this author?  Have you read this one?  Is this a good example of the authors work?

This book is part of my collection and was either bought or given to me.


bermudaonion said...

I've never read any of Plaidy's work, but I really don't read a lot of historical fiction.

Anonymous said...

Oh I should check this one out. I don't read as much fiction as I used to. ;-) New follower btw! Following you back via the Green Hop!

Kris said...

Queenofthisheremanor - Thanks for checking out my book blog too! Hope you enjoy this one if you get around to it. one of my friends loved it, I think I just wasn't in the mood for it when I read it.

Literary Feline said...

I am not familiar with this author at all, I'm afraid. I'm sorry it wasn't better for you. I do love a good historical novel but admit I don't read a lot about royalty. Not sure why other than I haven't come across too many that really catch my fancy.

Kris said...

Literary Feline - I think maybe that's the type of historical fiction novel I need to read more of, those where the people aren't famous and I don't already know what to expect. I'm reading a civil war book right now and loving it - and the main characters aren't famous people either.