What’s Ashley Reading?: The Passionate Tudor

The Passionate Tudor by Alison Weir

First line: Mary’s earliest memory was of a glittering ceremony at her father’s court when she must have been very tiny.

Summary: Mary Tudor, the child of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was raised to believe that one day she would be Queen of England. That is until Henry sets his sights on Anne Boleyn and banishes Mary and her mother from court. Then just a few years later she is welcomed back after the execution of Henry’s second wife. The rest of her father’s reign is filled with uncertainty about her future and the religion she holds so dear. Upon his death and the death of her young brother, Edward VI, she is finally ascends the throne becoming the first queen regnant of England. But as the years of her reign progress her popularity wains as she inflicts harsh punishments and death on those she believes to be heretics, earning the nickname of Bloody Mary.

My Thoughts: Mary I is not a character from Tudor history that I am particularly drawn to. She does have a tragic story filled with triumphs and defeats. As a young woman she is everything that is expected of a princess. She is charismatic, pretty and educated. I liked this Mary. I wanted to cheer for her. But when Henry decides to divorce her mother and leave the Catholic Church, she starts to become the Mary most people know.

It was hard to see her decline throughout the book even though I knew how everything was going to play out. She had a close relationship with her sister until jealousy wormed its way into their lives. Mary’s religious beliefs were a strong driving force behind many of her choices as queen and this created a break between her and the people of England. With each loss in her life she became a harder person to like.

In the author’s notes at the end, Weir explains her reasoning behind her portrayal of England’s first queen regnant. Mary may have done some great things during her time but the bad really do outweigh the good. Only recently has she been able gain some more support from historians. But Weir is not one of them. What do you think? Read this and let us know!

Ashley Pohlenz
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Author: Ashley Pohlenz

I am the Interlibrary Loan & Cataloging Coordinator at Derby Public Library. I am in charge of library items, creating the library newsletter and writing book reviews for our blog and newsletter. Being able to work around books is a dream! I read anything but my favorite genres are historical fiction and YA. Give me anything set in Tudor England or teenage fantasy novel and I am set.

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