Book Review: “Queen of Martyrs: The Story of Mary I” by Samantha Wilcoxson

Hello!

I actually wasn’t going to post this review so soon, but in order to (hopefully) go with my plan for next month’s posts, I need more room within the last two weeks of October, so I had to come up with a Plan B, and this was it.

On Wednesday, I published my review for the first book in the Plantagenet Embers series, which was about Elizabeth of York. I mentioned that I was in the middle of a Plantagenet/Tudor phase, at the moment, and I was currently reading this book, while in reality I was flying through it, which is how it the review is coming out much sooner than I had originally planned. I hope you enjoy this post and maybe it’ll inspire you to check out Samantha’s books!


34388423._SY475_

How did a gentle, pious woman become known as ‘Bloody Mary’?
 
‘God save the Queen! God save our good Queen Mary!’

When these words rang out over England, Mary Tudor thought her troubles were over. She could put her painful past – the loss of her mother and mistreatment at the hands of her father – behind her.

With her accession to the throne, Mary set out to restore Catholicism in England and find the love of a husband that she had long desired. But the tragedies in Mary’s life were far from over.
 
Step into Tudor England

taken from Amazon.


I’ll be honest, I have never been interested with anything to do with Mary I.

I know what I’m about to say is debatable, but I wholeheartedly believe Matilda of Flanders and Lady Jane Grey were both Queen of England, as they were named heirs to the throne by their previous kings, so is Mary I truly the first queen? This question may never find an acceptable answer.

Mary had been raised as her father’s heir, a beloved princess who would one day rule in her own right,

It was interesting to meet this woman who was so caring of others, turn into this “monster” who ordered the deaths of heretics. I do know that for my first fictionized view of Mary’s life after the deaths of her beloved mother Catherine of Aragon and former governess Lady Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury until her final day on Earth.

You have an unique chance to see how she treated everyone, including her relationships with her younger siblings Edward VI and the future Queen Elizabeth I. She is so full of love being around them, although she never really grew to trust her sister, but with Edward, that connection was clearly different in the beginning, before he becomes king. You see her around her stepmother Katheryn Parr, to her ladies-in-waiting, counselors, husband Philip of Spain, and her cousin Cardinal Reginald Pole.

After reading this book, I believe she never found someone she could truly love and trust other than her God. I’ve personally never understood the Catholic faith, so I don’t want to pass judgement on her or anyone else. However, there’s a part towards the end where she asks her sister if she would like to be sent to a convent, after Elizabeth declines a marriage proposal. It’s interesting how devout Mary was to her faith, but she seemed like she couldn’t submit to God like a nun, if Mary hadn’t been next on the succession to the throne, would she have give up all of her royal things to become a nun? It’s just a thought really.

Now let’s discuss her aliments that she seems to have suffered all throughout her life. The extreme headaches, nausea, and eventual mass in her abdomen. I was familiar with the story of her experiencing a phantom pregnancy, this really broke my heart as I had become somewhat sympatric to her up until this point. The part I was a bit confused on was what kind of sickness was she dealing with between the last of her father’s reign and beginning of her brother’s?

Well, this is my theory of it. both Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon actually share a common ancestor, Catherine of Lancaster. Catherine was the daughter of John of Gaunt, the 1st Duke of Lancaster. She was born to the red side of what would be part of The War of the Roses. Sound familiar to you? Catherine would go on to marry Henry II of Castile. They had a son by the name of John II of Castile, who in turn fathered a daughter, the future co-ruler Isabella of Castile, who would later marry Ferdinand of Aragon. These were Catherine’s parents and Queen Mary’s grandparents.

Her coronation must include the traditions of those who had gone before her, with the vital exception that she was not male.

Let’s go back through John of Gaunt’s line. John had married three times, Blanche, Constance and lastly his mistress Lady Katherine Swymford. Katherine would give birth to four children; since their children out of wedlock, they were not given their father’s surname, instead they were the Beauforts. Their first son John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset married and had children with Margaret Beauchamp, they had a single child: Lady Margaret Beaufort. She would fight to get her son Henry Tudor to the English throne and create a brand-new line of royals, thus how we got Margaret, Queen of Scots, Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of France, Duchess of Suffolk and their descendants.

It was common practice to marry into family lines, at one time Mary was actually betrothed to her uncle Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor as a young girl. Instead, she married her cousin and Charles’s son Philip. He was the only husband to assume the title “King” and I can understand why on all fronts. Anyways, back to my theory, could have both Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon and their oldest daughter suffer the consequences of marrying a cousin? We have to include Henry’s lack of hundreds bastard children (aside from his own daughters!) to understand that it wasn’t just Catherine’s fault he wasn’t getting a son. Could this have happened to Mary as well? She could have suffered from multiple conditions in the inbreeding of her parents. We just don’t know and may never know either.

Okay, I apologize for my mini family trees between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. I figured if I didn’t include them, you would be lost in translation. I’ve included a couple of links into those two paragraphs to hopefully make it easier to look back on each of their lines.

Have you read the third and final book in Samantha Wilcoxson’s “Plantagenet Embers” series? If you have, do you have a favorite story? Let me know in the comments below!

snowflake

Anne Boleyn: More Than The “Second Wife”

Hi 🙂

Today is an interesting day and in ways kind of morbid too. Why? Because it is the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s death. The second wife of King Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I.

Since I am so into history, especially British royals I feel like Anne and Henry’s love story is probably the most interesting! I have over 7 different groups and like pages just on Tudor royals, whether they’re a bunch of authors and historians or actors who make their own Tudor dresses and parade around at fairs, it’s an exciting escape from the boredom I tend to find on my Facebook! I think for fans who love celebrities they either find the person from the end or in the middle of their careers. I have certain “obsessions” like that too, but Anne and Henry’s relationship is something totally different. I know how it got started, when they were finally married, when she was banished from court to finally her execution.

I feel conflicted when I play with the question if I were alive at the time of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII’s reign, how much would I support the marriage and future Queen of England. I also think that if I was transported there I would either be studied by the want-to-be-physicians or left for dead by my family because you know I’d be born with my disability! I just feel like I wouldn’t probably feel as I do about Anne, which sucks because I would believe all of the rumors than the woman that is our Queen. However, since I’m not, I get to show my support to this woman of power in her right.

She was one of the most influential women of that time period; some people would consider the amount of control she had over the king as witchcraft, but I think it was a partnership, between these two power houses. First you have, King Henry VIII being controlled by the Catholic church and the Pope, while Anne is part of the Reformation and is Anglican. As much as he found Anne attractive, she was of different religion and one that was unfavorable to the people of England. The fact that she broke him away from the Catholic way and his most trusted Cardinal Wolsey (he did that all on his own when he failed to get an annulment from Katherine) is amazing!

The second is that she never fully gave herself to him in the beginning and this is probably the most fascinating part of the whole thing considering while being married to Katherine of Aragon, he had multiple mistresses, not just Anne. She was the only bold one to tell him “no” whenever he offered more. We know that because he had a relationship with Lady Elizabeth Blount, while she was one of Katherine’s ladies in waiting, but she also gave him a living son. Despite the fact that she was already married and the child was considered a bastard, he was loved by his father, the King.

I think Anne Boleyn deserves an award for keeping her chastity during the relationship! For a man, who obviously didn’t have any control on his sexual appetite, I find this long wait to be almost frightening – I’m imagining this King who knows he can get anything he wants and can get bored easily with the ones he has relations with, as we see later in his life. I wonder how much confidence she truly had within herself to keep this relationship going. That’s something we’ll never really know, because I mean we know they “loved” each other, but he had six wives and two of those wives were beheaded!

She made a mistake shortly after giving birth, she gave birth to a girl: Princess Elizabeth, not a strong male heir like Henry had wanted from the get-go. This was another reasons why he wanted an divorce from his first wife Katherine of Aragon, mother to his other daughter Princess Mary. Katherine was previous married to his older brother Prince Arthur, but he died and Henry had married her but later feared that the first marriage was consummated, which he used against her to fight the Pope. Once Elizabeth was born, Anne would have miscarriages. She still wasn’t fulfilling the dream for the both of them. Shortly after that, he started seeking the affection from one of her own ladies-in-waiting, Jane Seymour. The theories are that the accusations of Anne convicting of adultery, incest and plotting to kill the king were enough to see a future with Jane, while Anne and the other unfortunate souls were arrested and sent to the Tower of London and they were all eventually beheaded in 1536,

As far as my opinions of her downfall, I think she was tricked. She wasn’t supported among the king’s people for the obvious reasons, so I think they were out to get her from the start of everything and once she wasn’t having any sons, people sort of put their plans in motion. However, as influential as she was with her husband, I have to keep an open mind of her making a mistake, I feel she might’ve gotten cocky in her role and panicked after when he became interested in Jane Seymour. I think she was desperate to give him a son an heir plus if she did this, she could be able to stay at court with her husband and children.

I often wonder if the Queens knew their husbands were sleeping with their ladies in waiting, why didn’t they just sent them away? If Katherine of Aragon had dome this to Anne, would she have been queen and given birth to Elizabeth? Again, another theory I’ve always had!

If I could get myself to sit down and write out a whole post or possibly multiple blog posts on the amount of history I have learned since I was a kid, I would do it in a heartbeat. After being able to share my knowledge about the vegan world, I would like to explore that side of myself with you, take you into what’s really stored inside my brain. You should feel thankful that I’m even considering this idea at all, but it is still early and you could not even like this post and then I wouldn’t have to say anything. I guess we’ll just have to find out what sort of information you would like to see more!

Would you like to read more historical posts on here? I would share how I got started on each one. I’ll also try to include some references as well! Let me know!

snowflake

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin

More Reading: