From the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Queen Victoria, a new history of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I that reveals how the most important relationship of their life―their friendship―changed them forever.
I used to think that John Guy’s biography of Mary, My Heart Is My Own, could never be bettered. That’s probably still true, but this book nevertheless adds something significant to our understanding. Rival Queens is marketed as an account of the conflict between Elizabeth and Mary, but in truth is yet another biography. What makes it special is Williams’s understanding of how gender shaped Mary’s life. This is a feminist history, but not a clumsily theoretical one. Theory and sophisticated analysis never smother the pacey narrative.
Poor Mary Stuart. At a young age, she seemed to be on top of the world. She was queen regnant of Scotland, queen consort of France, and in Catholic eyes, the rightful queen regnant of England ... But, as the title of Williams’ refreshing, engaging biography indicates, Mary Stuart’s life trajectory trended downward ... Tudor-Stuart enthusiasts will, of course, recognize the major characters and events that Williams writes about, but they will appreciate the greatly vibrant tone in this account by the best-selling author of Young Elizabeth and CNN royal historian.
For the anglophile who revels in long-ago history of England, Scotland, and those general environs, then Kate Williams’s new book, The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots should be on his or her immediate wish list ... the depth of Williams’s research dredges up behaviors and bad treatments that surrounded Mary throughout her life, much closer than Elizabeth ... Williams does an exemplary job of researching Mary’s life and placing it before us as a series of betrayals ... In spite of the depth and detail of this book, it is a fast read and worth sitting with a cup of tea by a warm fire from first page to last.