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Book Review: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots

Updated: Jan 1, 2020

Minor break from our usual reviews. As some of you know, Lark has a degree in history. What you don’t know is that her focus was Tudor history. Specifically women in the Tudor period. You can totally blame romance novels for this, but the flip side is that when a non-fiction work comes up on the subject you can be sure that Lark will grab it and be super critical if the research is wrong.

Because history is awesome!

Margaret Tudor is in someways the forgotten Tudor. Daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, she was the Queen of Scotland for a time and it was through her that the Stuart kings ascended the throne. Yet in many modern retellings, including The Tudors, her story forgotten or worse, merged with her sister’s tale.

Forget what you know of her from The Tudors… that was Mary’s tale (and even there a hell of a lot of liberties were taken.) They changed the name because people in that time period had no imagination when it came to names. Seriously… how do you think Henry VII ended up with 6 wives but only 3 different names. On the plus side, it sure saved costs on embroidery.. ~_^

Sarah-Beth Watkins attempts to remedy the confusion and mystery surrounding Margaret Tudor. Using correspondence and chronicles of the time, Watkins weaves together a complex tapestry of the woman who was Margaret Tudor. Starting from her birth, we explore Margaret’s world and her place in it. We meet everyone who would later influence her life and her choices. It helps explain her complexity and also her historical importance. And make no bones about it, Margaret is important.

For those of you who don’t know, it was through Margaret Tudor that we get the Stuarts. You know James I – the dude whose bible most of us know and quote.

Margaret was also and interesting woman in her own right. She had three husbands. Was the grandmother of both Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots. She was regent of Scotland. She married for love and regretted it. She was human and as fascinating as her better known sister and brother.

I was not disappointed in this book. The author has clearly done their research (which is good considering this is a non-fiction book) and has gone out of her way to include little tidbits into Margaret’s life. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of her letters other documents which both humanized Margaret and also provided historical context to the book. I didn’t like the layout which worked well for a printed book, but less well for an ebook. One of my big complaints with this book is the price. $11.99 for the ebook is highway robbery. This is one of the few times I will advocate for buying the physical copy if possible. Which is what I’m sure the publisher wants. But overall I’m happy to give this biography: Four Stars.

*** I received a copy of this book through NetGalley

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