The Queen’s Devotion

Written by Jean Plaidy
Review by Troy Reed

The Queen’s Devotion, a novel in Plaidy’s Queens of England series, is a reprint of the previously published William’s Wife, and depicts the story of Queen Mary II. When the novel opens, Mary and her younger sister, Anne, are carefree princesses with loving and devoted parents. The girls’ father, the Duke of York, is in line for the throne if their uncle, King Charles II, and his wife fail to produce a male heir. Because of the tumultuous political and religious climate in England, the girls are raised as Protestants. Mary and her sister are blissfully unaware of the trouble that is looming in the future. Once Mary turns fifteen, her life changes when her father informs her that she will be marrying her cousin, William, Prince of Orange, and will be moving to his homeland of Holland.

Mary is very young and naïve when she is married and feels that her world has been turned upside down—she is unhappy with the ladies accompanying her to her new home, she must leave behind her beloved father and sister, and she does not like her husband, who treats her very coolly.

When Mary’s uncle dies without an heir, her father becomes King James II. He is unpopular with the people because he is Catholic, and numerous plots begin to brew. As time goes on, rumors drift their way across the Channel, and Mary realizes that soon she will have to choose between her loyalty to her father and her husband.

Plaidy’s detailed writing style evokes sympathy for Queen Mary. She effectively writes of the prominent scandals that were sprinkled throughout the queen’s life and superbly shows the tension and guilt that Mary faces, as she and William eventually become the co-regents of England.