Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen
Mary Tudor, known almost indelibly to history as “Bloody Mary” for her religious persecutions, has had the good fortune to be the subject of several intelligent studies lately, including this one. Her journey from pampered princess to rejected bastard to popular queen to hated queen is a familiar one, but Whitelock makes it fresh. She also makes Mary’s story highly accessible for the general reader: her prose is readable and free of academic jargon, and her short chapters can be read at a sitting. Whitelock’s admiration for her subject’s courage and tenacity is palpable, though she does not gloss over the more unpleasant aspects of Mary’s reign.
My one complaint is that I would have liked some more analysis: I thought too little attention was given to Mary’s motivations for her religious persecutions and too little time was spent discussing her posthumous reputation. Nonetheless, this is a solid biography that will have a permanent place on my reference shelf.