Friday, February 26, 2010

Gone is the Bad Rap, Finally!- BOOK REVIEW: Her Mother's Daughter, Julianne Lee

Well it’s about time-Finally a book that sets Mary free...Free from all that bad rap and ‘bloody’ name calling I’m so used to reading about. How refreshing, and so unexpected! Julianne Lee, author of Her Mother’s Daughter writes a phenomenal story on the life of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s much reviled, eldest daughter.

 
In my opinion, there’s way too much negative HF written on Mary with the pendulum exaggeratedly high on  both, the very revered, Elizabeth and her mother, Anne Boleyn. Mary, on the other hand, is too often scorned for being a religious zealot and uber- queen of massacre during her reign.

Unlike the favoured (almost) propaganda-like novels on Mary, Her Mother’s Daughter takes an historical stand in portraying the feel of the times in light of the Catholic and Protestant movements with a refreshingly endearing take on Mary. Julianne Lee portrays Mary through her journey’s destiny, beginning from her infancy to show us a clearer picture of who she really was.

Of course Mary’s intact belief system as a devout Catholic is an underlying factor in this read-but that is certainly not all that this splendid book is about. Almost like a biography, the author takes us through Mary’s life, from her earliest, and happiest memories of her father, right to the end of her reigning years. We get to see her interactions and reactions with all the members of her family and entourage. Her distinct hatred for her step-mother, Anne and her undying love for her father-that is never reciprocated-is very clear. She is stripped of her title, belittled, chastised, used for a means and forgotten. Yet, Mary, despite all this has an unimaginable inner strength and unshakeable faith. I admired her courage throughout and understood her stance in matters of state, love and faith.

Molded by circumstances and stripped of motherly and fatherly love (let alone complete rejection), Mary was a survivor. Even through her love for Phillip, her husband, there was great suffering for none that was reciprocated, compounded with an unfulfilled desire for children…not a crumb of happiness for this forever lonely soul- Ever. Is it any wonder that she found solace in her faith, the only thing that brought her any sense of peace and comfort?

In terms of the writing, Julianne Lee is brilliant. The book flows impeccably as it takes us through Mary’s history. I especially enjoyed the first person interjections of Mary speaking or recounting specific moments in her life. And, how creative that the book should begin with spooked children chanting her name in a mirror: Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary. It hooks you immediately.

I didn’t think I could say this, but Julianne Lee's novel, comes very close to what a modern-day Plaidy might have written. I can’t believe I said that (Arleigh!Marie!)- but yes, I believe it is well merited.

Her Mother’s Daughter is historically accurate, flowing in flawless language and prose, intense, gripping and emotionally filled.

To anyone who would like to learn more about Mary Tudor, I highly recommend this exceptional book. You won’t regret it.

And I’ll say it again- It’s about time!


Thanks to Penguin Group USA for this review copy:)

To read Julianne Lee's excellent Guest Post, SEE HERE.

18 comments:

Daphne said...

I agree that Mary gets a really bad rap - things are rarely as clear cut as people would like to make them out to be. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Susie Tudor Daughter said...

Well if it comes close to Plaidy then it's a must for me. Wonderful review Lucy! I have real empathy for Mary, she really suffered through-out her life. I am currently reading In The Shadow of the Crown by Plaidy which is also a wonderfully written book about Mary Tudor.

Pricilla said...

As with any personage in history it is the winner who writes the tales and Elizabeth was the ultimate winner historically. Her reign was longer and her achievements greater.It didn't hurt her any to denigrate Mary. Not to totally exonerate Mary - she did not try and stop all of the religious warfare going on during her reign and so many people were killed for THEIR faith.

Too many people have, far too many people have died over the religious excuse - which is really nothing more than power.

Christina T said...

I know there are good unbiased biographies of Mary Tudor and I am glad to hear about this novel's fair treatment of her life. I will have to add this to my TBR list.

Maxine said...

Now this is one I'd like to read. I agree that poor Mary gets more negative press than she deserves. I'm glad this one takes into account the times in which she lived. She really was a product of her time. Great review. Adding it to my TBR list.

Matterhorn said...

'Truth is the daughter of time.' Wasn't that Mary's personal motto? It seems oddly suitable, as, with the passing of the years, we are finally hearing a more balanced view of her.

dolleygurl said...

Wow Lucy - that takes a lot for you to compare to Plaidy! I have been interested in this book since I heard about it - I will have to pick this one up.

lizzy J said...

Wow is right, I had a feeling about this one. Now that you confirmed my suspicion I am going to have to get my hands on this one.

Loved the review Lucy

Rheanna said...

I've always thought both Mary's (Tudor and Queen of Scots) have always been characterized as wicked women. (And don't get me started on Marie Antoinette) I am excited to go pick up this book especially if it lives up to the ever amazing Jean Plaidy. As always thanks for your great review!

Muse in the Fog said...

Ooh..what a coincidence! I just finished The Queen's Governess today and thought to myself "I wonder if there is a book about Mary Tudor", and voila here is your review and my answer! Thanks for the great review Lucy :)

Ms. Lucy said...

Hey Thanks for all your wonderful comments! Mary was not all perfection of course, but boy was she determined and could not be swayed. As for the massacres...truth be said, the apple does not fall far from the tree in this aspect- she learned from the best at persecuting..Henry had no qualms about killing off so many- and in that case the comparison in Catholics being slain should not be diminished...Bloody Henry in deed.

As for Plaidy- yes, she Julianne Lee does come very very close.

Except**I would have to say that there is only one tiny section in the book that involved a bit of explicit raciness where Philip was concerned- that part I'm pretty sure Plaidy would not have included. Other than that, yes the style is pretty reflective.

Arleigh said...

Thanks Lucy.. for the review & the book! I can't wait to read it if she writes in Plaidy style :)

Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick said...

Lucy, what a well-worded review! I think it would indeed be refreshing to read a hist-fic read that elevates Mary rather than degrades her. I've not read any thus far that cast her as a main protagonist, only as a central side character. In Alison Weir's The Lady Elizabeth, she was, of course, portrayed in a more villanous light - although she was described as someone who was not necessarily intrinsically evil, more someone who was just wrongly manipulated by her advisors who had political agendas of their own. I've heard only good things about this novel and will check it out the next time I'm at the bookstore. Thanks for the recommendation!

librarypat said...

I checked Ms. Lee's site. Interesting. This book sounds like it gives a very different view than we usually get. Too often historical figures are presented as very one dimensional individuals . We all know there are many sides to everyone.

Leslie Carroll said...

Looking forward to this, Lucy, and thanks for the excellent review. From the research I have done on Mary for my various nonfiction Royal books, I came away with the conclusion that the events of her young life very much shaped the adult (and queen) she became. There's no getting around the fact that she did burn "heretics" (as did her father and her half-sister when they sat on the throne, although those "heretics" were Catholics and not what we would now call Prostestants), but I agree there are many more layers and levels to Mary than the actions that earned her the "Bloody" moniker.

Marie Burton said...

Thanks for linking to my review, Lucy, and as I said, this novel was a wonderful look at Mary and the forces behind the woman that we rarely get a look at.
Thanks for YOUR review =)

mummazappa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mummazappa said...

wow, sounds so great i have to read it, thanks for letting us know about it!