The First Queen of England: The Myth of “Bloody Mary”
by Linda Porter
New York: St. Martin’s Press 2007
So, The First Queen of England, what to say? The Prologue was written in the style of a novel which is not how I like my non-fiction to be. Telling me what a historical figure thought, how she turned in her horse’s saddle, what the sky looked like…. You get the idea. Unless written by an eye-witness, documented and cited, I do not want it in my historic biography. Luckily, that was the only blatant move by the author into dramatics. As this was a Christmas gift from my husband, my initial fear that I would have to tell him of my disappointment happily became unfounded.
Porter could not resist a few dramatic gestures once in a while, but on the whole kept to the historical facts—which are dramatic enough on their own. Am not as versed in Queen Mary’s life as Elizabeth I’s so this was a great book for me to learn a few more things (Porter covers the marriage negotiations with Philip extensively more than other books I have on Mary and on Philip) and the Epilogue fills in what happened to her main servants and advisers upon her death.
There were a couple of conclusions that I do want to look up. I felt the assertions were not cited with enough strength so I want to investigate further. But for me that does not really deter from the book since an author needs to reevaluate materials and introduce new ideas. Besides, gives me some fun things to research.