The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France

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9780312242411: The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France

Focuses on the two sisters of Henry VIII, analyzing their influence on English and European history during the rise of the Tudor period.

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Review:

Everyone knows that Henry VIII had six wives. Few people realize, however, that he had two sisters who became queens of Scotland and France, scandalizing their brother and most of Europe in the process. In The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France, Maria Perry presents a history of the frequently overlooked Queens Margaret and Mary, who, like their marriage-happy brother, helped shape the ascending Tudor dynasty and 16th-century England.

Having thoroughly researched libraries in both England and Scotland, the London-based Perry provides a painstakingly detailed portrait of both women, European court life, and political history. She adeptly weaves intricate genealogies, complex lines of succession, and intercourt marital intrigue into her narrative. The inclusion of such detail, however, tends to overwhelm the main narrative, and, consequently, it progresses slowly and frequently lacks linearity and a disciplined focus.

The Sisters of Henry VIII was written for the reader already familiar with early-modern England. The newcomer to the period may by frustrated by her frequent mention--without further explanation--of individuals, places, and events. Similarly, readers anticipating a more psychological portrayal of Queens Margaret and Mary will be disappointed. The strength of Perry's examination lies in the breadth of detail in which she chronicles the day-to-day events of both women and the early-16th-century court life in which they lived. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack

From the Publisher:

"A splendid book with two absorbing subjects . . .This is history at its most enjoyable." -The Sunday Times (London)

"She has done a lot of digging to produce this book and the results are gratifying... Maria Perry has produced a worthwhile addition to our knowledge of a pair of intriguing sisters" -The Literary Review (England)

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