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The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous…

The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland… (1998)

by Mary Perry

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3.5 stars

This is a nonfiction account of the lives of Henry VIII's sisters. Margaret, his older sister, was married to James IV of Scotland. She moved there and married him at 13 years old. He died young, and Margaret went on to marry two more times. Henry's younger sister, Mary, was married off to the much older King of France, Louis XII. They were only married for a few months before he died, giving Mary a chance to return to England and marry the man she loved, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

I've only read a little bit of fiction about Mary, but nothing at all about Margaret till now, so this was interesting to hear what happened in Margaret's life after she left England (it was not an easy life for her). The book was good. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jun 20, 2017 |
Let's just say that it was not easy to be a woman in the 1500s. It was especially not easy to be a woman related to Henry VIII and a pawn in his plans for political gain. This telling of the stories of Margaret of Scotland (mother to James V), and Mary of France was an interesting at look at a period of time most often told from the male perspective. Well researched, but I wish there had been more to this book, which is a little thin considering the fascinating times in which these two women lived. ( )
1 vote Meggo | May 31, 2015 |
It was ok but it didn't really offer anything new and it had too much about Henry VIII. Especially the later part was mainly focused on Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon. ( )
2 vote Elysianfield | Mar 30, 2013 |
Comparatively little gets written about Henry VIII's sisters. Margaret married King James IV of Scotland and is the ancestress of the current royal family. Mary briefly married King Louis XI of France and then Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, Henry's closest personal friend. I found this a bit slow going in parts and the endless twists and turns of Scottish events, with constant political and personal betrayals, became a bit dull and convoluted. Mary was comparatively less comprehensively covered than her elder sister. But it is well written and offers an interesting look at a less well known aspect of the Tudor dynasty. 3.5/5 ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Apr 1, 2012 |
I have really mixed feelings about this book. The research is very good, but this book is dryer than dust. It is almost too detailed. I stuck with it, but it was slow going. It is not for the casual Tudor history reader like me. ( )
2 vote TheLibraryhag | Jan 24, 2009 |
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For my friend John Pine and in memory of Haydn Davies and Kay Clayton
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It was an autumn morning in 1499.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"First published in Great Britain under the title: Sisters to the king: the tumultuous lives of Henry VIII's sisters--Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France"--T.p. verso.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0306809893, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:12 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Henry VIII's sisters, neglected by generations of historians, affected the lives of their contemporaries much more forcefully than did any of their brother's famous six wives. In The Sisters of Henry VIII, Maria Perry brings history alive by examining the lives of these extraordinary women and their influence on Europe in the Tudor Age. Margaret became queen of Scotland at age thirteen; family members arranged beautiful Mary's betrothal to the aging king of France when she was twelve. But both women chose their second husbands for love: Margaret married and divorced twice after Henry's advancing armies slaughtered her first husband and kidnapped her children; Mary risked execution by proposing to the handsome duke of Suffolk. Groundbreaking in both depth and scope, Perry's work rescues two remarkable princesses from the shadows of history and offers a fresh interpretation of a royal family and an era sure to fascinate readers of Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser.… (more)

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