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The Thistle and the Rose by Victoria Holt
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The Thistle and the Rose (1963)

by Jean Plaidy

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For a book that was number 8 in a series I'd never heard of before, this actually worked very well as a stand alone book. This is the story of Margaret of Scotland, older sister of King Henry VIII of England. You generally don't see too many books about her, so this one was rather refreshing. She'd be considered a fairly modern woman by our standards, 3 marriages, 2 in defiance of her much married brother, & of the Crown of Scotland to boot. However, all 3 of those were doomed to failure, as the poor woman had to endure disappointment in the guise of her husbands' infidelities & children by those dalliances. She had children of her own, James V of Scotland, by her first husband James IV, Lady Margaret Douglas, by her 2nd husband Angus Douglas, & 2 by her third & last husband, Henry(Harry) Stuart, but it never gave their names or what happened to them in the story.

I also learned that this author is but one of three pen names the ACTUAL author used to write under, & she was VERY prolific. I really enjoyed this, since I'm a history geek, & a fan of historical romance, & I'm going to HAVE to go read more of her books! ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 10, 2014 |
This Plaidy novel begins with Margaret Tudor as a young girl. She is portrayed as strong-minded and very defiant, yet close to Henry, her brother. I love the way from the very beginning the two of them go at it in terms of who will rule first. Margaret is so intent on getting married and when all of a sudden it’s decided that she is to be wed to the King James IV of Scotland, although she is somewhat reluctant, she’s also extremely delighted.

From the moment she meets him, she becomes totally enamored with the King, whom she thought to be the handsomest man ever. Margaret is but a young girl, but being a Tudor in every way, her appetite for love is strong and her passions difficult to curb. The King enjoys his young bride and the marriage is seemingly perfect. It’s only when Margaret discovers that the formidably charming and irresistible James is also very much the ladies’ man…her heart is shattered.

King James is a kind man at heart, and although he cannot refute his passions, he still makes sure that his Queen never goes amiss of anything. He respects and nurtures her, and also takes care of her every need. They go through much hardship as the Queen suffers many miscarriages and deaths of their children. Finally, she bears him two sons; future heirs of the Scottish throne.

The happily-ever-married does not last forever…Margaret is terribly hurt from James affairs and she seeks her own adventures. When James dies, she goes on to marry the Lord Angus, to the dismay of all of Scotland. He was a Douglas, and thought to be extremely detrimental for the fate of their country. Nonetheless, Margaret made the terrible decision to marry Angus, for she cold not bear to not live out her lusty passions.

A tragedy suddenly hits when the youngest of her two sons, while under the guidance of the Duke of Albany (brother to the former King James) dies from the pox. Margaret is convinced that Albany wants to be rid of the boys to conquer the throne himself. She compares him to the late Richard III and the boys in the tower. A love-hate relationship begins…

The story unfolds with Margaret in continuous struggle to be back with her son, the King, and rid herself of Albany. But in the meantime, she also discovers Angus to be unfaithful. This leads her to having another affair and then again another marriage…another bad choice. Henry VIII, her brother, who is now King of England, is always in communication with his sister. Many a times, she finds refuge and assistance by his side- except when he does not want to acknowledge her divorce from Angus…for religious purposes (suitable to him until he seeks similar cause with his own once-beloved Anne…)

This story is continuously on the move. Margaret, who is so much like Henry in so many ways, is always ruled by her heart and passions rather than by logic. A Tudor weakness that is too often the blame.

I really enjoyed this novel especially because of the history. From the beginning, right up to the end, starting with Elizabeth of York, all the way to James V’s first wife and Henry’s Jane Seymore, the novel, through its historical figures and happenings, pieces the puzzle of this wonderful time in history.

I totally enjoyed reading about this feisty lady who loved passionately- all she wanted was to find someone who loved her deeply in return...The characters, the history, everything was incredibly entertaining. I highly recommend The Thistle and The Rose to anyone who’d love to read a great summary of what happened back in Scotland, England and France in the times of Margaret and Henry. It’s all Tudors and Stuarts. Loved it! ( )
  LucyB. | Aug 25, 2009 |
A reminder of how poor, albeit mildly diveriting, historical fiction can be. Sigh.
  LadyintheLibrary | Oct 23, 2008 |
Henry VIII has two sisters, both of whom become queens themselves. The oldest, Margaret, is promised to King James IV of Scotland, who is sixteen years older than herself. This marriage is an extremely significant event in the history of the United Kingdom, since it is through this link that the kingdoms of Scotland and England will one day be united. Meanwhile, Margaret has high hopes for her marriage, but James is heartbroken over the murder of this fiancee (also, unfortunately, named Margaret) and unable to devote himself completely to his young bride. Margaret becomes a controversial figure when her husband is killed by the armies of her brother, and she fights for control of her adopted country and her young son.

Quote: "James was always remorseful when he disappointed his Queen She was so much younger than he was that he forgot she had left childhood behind. He always saw her as the girl of thirteen she had been when she first came to him."

This is a very good novel chronicling the troubled life of Margaret Tudor, who spent much of her existence trying to shape her life without the pull of outside forces, usually the strong-willed men in her life (father, brother, son, husbands). Margaret is passionate herself, but she is often misled or overruled by those in her life she had considered to be allies. She is often confliced - the needs of her new country versus the needs of her native land, the desires of her husband or son versus the loyalty to her brother. It is not a simple life. ( )
  mhleigh | Aug 4, 2008 |
This novel was entertaining in that I didn't know much about Margaret Tudor. The theme of her Tudor pride being assaulted by the fact of her three husband's mistresses and bastards was alternately sad and frustrating. She had her brother's sensuality, and her life was somewhat tragic. My second Plaidy of many more. ( )
  Leser | Jul 27, 2008 |
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In an apartment of that royal palace which recently, by the command of the King, had had its name changed from Shen to Richmond, three children were ranged about a blazing fire.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0609810227, Paperback)

From the pen of the legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy comes the story of Princess Margaret Tudor, whose life of tragedy, bloodshed, and scandal would rival even that of her younger brother, Henry VIII.

Princess Margaret Tudor is the greatest prize when her father, Henry VII, negotiates the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with neighboring Scotland. The betrothal is meant to end decades of bloody border wars, but it becomes a love match: To Margaret’s surprise, she finds joy in her marriage to the dashing James IV of Scotland, a man sixteen years her senior. But the marriage, and the peace it brings to both nations, does not last. When King James is struck down by the armies of Henry VIII, Margaret—Princess of England, but Queen of Scotland—finds herself torn between loyalty to the land and family of her birth and to that of her baby son, now King of the Scots. She decides to remain in Scotland and carve out her own destiny, surviving a scandalous second marriage and battling with both her son and her brother to the very end. Like all the Tudors, Margaret’s life would be one of turmoil and controversy, but through her descendants, England and Scotland would unite as one nation, under one rule, and find peace.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Princess Margaret Tudor is the greatest prize when her father, Henry VII, negotiates the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with neighboring Scotland. The betrothal is meant to end decades of bloody border wars, but it becomes a love match. To Margarets surprise, she finds joy in her marriage to the dashing James IV of Scotland, a man sixteen years her senior. But the marriage, and the peace it brings to both nations, does not last. When King James is struck down by the armies of Henry VIII, MargaretPrincess of England, but Queen of Scotlandfinds herself torn between loyalty to the land and family of her birth and to that of her baby son, now King of the Scots. She decides to remain in Scotland and carve out her own destiny, surviving a scandalous second marriage and battling with both her son and her brother to the very end. Like all the Tudors, Margarets life would be one of turmoil and controversy, but through her descendants, England and Scotland would unite as one nation, under one rule, and find peace.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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