Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Queen's Sorrow by Suzannah Dunn

A queen brought low by love compromised and power abused -- the tragedy of Mary Tudor. Plain, dutiful and a passionate Catholic, Mary Tudor was overjoyed by joy when she became England's queen. After the misery of her childhood, when her father had rejected her mother, and effectively disowned his daughter, Mary felt at last that she was achieving her destiny. And when she marries Philip of Spain, her happiness is complete. But Mary's delight quickly turns sour as she realises that her husband does not love her. In fact he finds her devotion irritating. Desperate for a baby, she begins to believe that God is punishing her. Her people are horrified at the severity of the measures she takes and begin to turn against their queen who is lonely, frightened -- and desperate for love. Rafael, a member of Philip of Spain's entourage, is a reluctant witness to the unfolding tragedy and as the once-feted queen tightens her cruel hold on the nation, Rafael becomes closer to Mary and his life -- and new-found love -- are caught up in the terrible chaos that follows.

My View
I always felt the reviews I read of Suzannah Dunn's books really gave her a raw deal while yes she is not the greatest historical fiction writer she is (was?) far from the worst but, this book really was dire.

Basically the story of Mary Tudor is told through the eye of a member of her husband (Prince Philip of Spain's) entourage. It doesn't even really tell the story, actually at the beginning I thought it was going to turn into a pretty good book but, nothing ever seemed to happen. This book was mostly about someone who is really not very interesting.

I am sorry to say that I probably won't read another of Ms. Dunn's books unless I see it get really rave reviews - this really is the worst yet, her previous book on Katherine Parr really was not too bad and the previous was OK.


Daphne said...

Thanks for the review. I've been wondering if this one was any good. Guess I"ll steer clear!

Susan Higginbotham said...

Think I'll avoid this too!

I read the new biography of "Bloody Mary" by Linda Porter recently for review purposes. Can't post the review until it comes out in print, but I thought it was a good read.

Anonymous said...

The ending of this story tore my heart out. I would read this book if I had tons of time to spare. I really recommend Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark its not about Mary Tudor but its set in London roughly same timeframe.

ali/lisha/li-li said...

okay what ACTUALLY happens in this book at the end because i don't understand!! Does he kill himself and what about cecily??? x

The Vivisector said...

Agreed: turgid prose, unsympathetic characterization, predicatble historical backdrop. And what about that ending? Rafael's sudden onset of migraine/stroke/insanity...or just a cheap literary trick? Explanations gratefully accepted...anyone?