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Mary, Queen of France: The Tudor Princesses

1 rating: 4.0
A book by Jean Plaidy

Legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy brings to life the story of Princess Mary Tudor, a celebrated beauty and born rebel who would defy the most powerful king in Europe—her older brother.      Princess Mary Rose is the … see full wiki

Author: Jean Plaidy
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Date Published: October 28, 2003
1 review about Mary, Queen of France: The Tudor Princesses

"I would give up all... if I could leave the court with the man I love."

  • Feb 27, 2009
  • by

Long before Henry VIII succumbs to the heady power of his long and turbulent reign, he is a virile, handsome young man on the cusp of claiming the throne from an ailing father, his best friend and jousting partner since youth the equally impressive Charles Brandon. Surrounding himself with the accoutrements of royalty and his loyal friends, Henry holds his younger sister, Mary Rose, most dear. Certainly Mary displays the Tudor arrogance and singleness of purpose, at thirteen balking at her betrothal to Charles of Castile, a boy younger than herself. Mary's life becomes all the more complicated when she falls in love with the charming Brandon, who is always at her brother's side, their attraction natural as both are young, accomplished and beautiful. But even Mary senses the danger in her infatuation with Charles Brandon; as a royal princess, she has no say in whom she is to wed.

Unfortunately, love respects no such logical restrictions; when Mary realizes Charles is equally enamored, she is determined to make him her husband, first manipulating the dissolution of her betrothal to Charles of Castile. To Mary's dismay, Henry, who has been crowned following the death of his father, has learned of the treachery of the Spanish and contracts to marry his sister to the ageing Louis XII of France, binding the countries together in alliance. As much as she begs, Henry will not be dissuaded, having recently noted Mary's attentions to Brandon. Promising to let his sister choose her next marriage partner if only she agrees to wed Louis, the die is cast, Mary sailing into the longing arms of an old man grasping at an opportunity of begetting an heir.

One of the first people to attend Mary in France is Francoise, Duc de Valois, the Dauphin in line for the throne should Louis die without issue from his new bride. Almost as alluring as the dashing Charles, Francois captures the new queen's attention; she indulges in a merry, if dangerous, flirtation while wed to Louis. As expected, Louis succumbs to age and exhaustion, leaving Mary once more in the eye of the storm, Francoise, the newly anointed King of France and Henry busy making plans for her future. Rebelling, the clever Mary cajoles Francois to her cause, secretly wedding Charles Brandon, the newlyweds returning to England to face Henry's wrath.

Throughout the novel, the strong-willed Tudor brother and sister face off in a battle of wills, Mary only belatedly learning that her beloved Henry has changed from the indulgent older sibling to unpredictable despot, she and her husband barely escaping his displeasure many times as the years pass. Meanwhile, Henry has become disillusioned with his wife, Katherine of Aragon, and her inability to provide him with a son. Bored by her piety, he seeks solace in the dark charms of Anne Boleyn. Mary is perhaps the last woman able to charm the increasingly irascible king, but even the former Queen of France quakes at his the demeanor of a man thwarted in his desire for a son. The young, exuberant Henry of memory disappears, only to be replaced by a petulant, demanding bully who will have his way no matter the cost to the women in his life, beloved sister forgotten along with all the rest. Luan Gaines.

Mary, Queen of France

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