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The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson: A Book Review

The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots

Author: Carolly Erickson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: 2009

Pages: 351

Source: Personal Collection 

Synopsis: In this dramatic, compelling fictional memoir Carolly Erickson lets the courageous, spirited Mary Queen of Scots tell her own story—and the result is a novel readers will long remember.


    Born Queen of Scotland, married as a young girl to the invalid young King of France, Mary took the reins of the unruly kingdom of Scotland as a young widow and fought to keep her throne. A second marriage to her handsome but dissolute cousin Lord Darnley ended in murder and scandal, while a third marriage to the dashing, commanding Lord Bothwell, the love of her life, gave her joy but widened the scandal and surrounded her with enduring ill repute.


    Unable to rise above the violence and disorder that swirled around her, Mary plucked up her courage and escaped to England—only to find herself a prisoner of her ruthless, merciless cousin Queen Elizabeth.


     Here, in her own riveting account, is the enchanting woman whose name still evokes excitement and compassion—and whose death under the headsman's axe still draws forth our sorrow.


     In The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots, Carolly Erickson provides another in her series of mesmerizing historical entertainments, and takes readers deep into the life and heart of the sixteenth century's most fascinating woman. 


     My Review: Mary Queen of Scots was a famous rival of Queen Elizabeth I. She was a strong claimant to the English throne. Yet, she was accused of treason and executed. In this historical novel, Mrs. Erickson reimagines her life. We begin the novel as Mary married the Dauphin of France to her death.


    I did not like Mary Queen of Scots. I found her to be very haughty. She was very conceited because she was a queen regnant. I also found her to be very reckless and made foolish decisions. Mary never seemed to grow throughout the novel. Instead, she remained the same. Therefore, I found myself liking her rival Elizabeth I more than Mary.


    Overall, this novel is about ambition, power, and loyalty. I found all the characters to be very one-dimensional. I liked the first half of the novel that mainly sticks to facts. However, I hated the second part of the novel. There were many inaccuracies, and it was very far-fetched. It made it less enjoyable, and it was a struggle to finish it. I also hated the love story between Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Bothwell. History showed that it was no love story. According to historical accounts, Lord Bothwell made Mary marry him and forced himself on her. Knowing the history, it was hard to stomach Lord Bothwell being portrayed as the love of Mary’s life. Thus, The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots had potential, but it fell flat. There are more superior novels about Mary Queen of Scots that are more accurate. Some of them are Marjorie Bowen’s The Queen’s Caprice, Jean Plaidy’s The Royal Road to Fotheringhay, and Elizabeth Byrd’s Immortal Queen! Therefore, I advise to skip this book and read those instead because The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots is truly a forgettable novel!


Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


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