I AM MARY TUDOR by Hilda Lewis


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. . . chattering like a magpie in 422 pages all about the wretched petty pace of a life of being not wanted by one's father, siblings, or important others. How would you feel, as Mary Tudor, eldest ""legitimate"" child of Henry VIII and an ill-used Queen, humiliated and exiled, buffeted about from dreary pillar to uneasy post? Ms. Lewis imagines you would feel rather bitter about it, would develop headaches and nausea in addition to an antipathy for Henry's handymen such as Wolsey and Cromwell among others (although one feels sorry for them when they expire in various fashions). As for the eight queens -- Mother was adored, Anne Bullen was hated (but died repentant), poor Jane and Anne of Cleves were admired, cuddly Catherine was pitied and it was some time before the wily Parr showed her true colors. There are no gray areas in religion -- Mary is unquestioningly loyal to the True Church. The author's Mary is a model sounding board for a string of historically accepted events but there is no attempt to come to grips with some major determinants -- such as the power amalgams responsible for Mary's dramatic coup into Queenhood over Northumberland (Mary's political and military forces were formidable enough actually to bring even Elizabeth to heel). As it is here, Mary's followers seem to rally out of nowhere. In spite of all the thin ice, Ms. Lewis is a prime fantasist, and although you may not be sure where you've been, you've been there. Within easy reach of the Lofts market.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1970
Publisher: McKay