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The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  1,292 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Queen of Scotland at six days of age, 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 to the dashing Lord Bothwell, the love of her life, gave her jo ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published August 12th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 31, 2009 Misfit rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wall-banger
Erickson's latest *historical entertainment* (her words) covers the life of Mary Queen of Scots from the time she was married to Francis and became Queen Consort of France, her return to Scotland as Queen after she is widowed, her marriage to the despicable Darnley and his murder, her subsequent marriage to Bothwell and her eventual imprisonment by Elizabeth I. It's all known history and I needn't spend much time rehashing it because Erickson totally reinvents it anyway - and quite badly I might ...more
WARNING: Shameless Reign fangirlage. Sorrynotsorry.

I read this purely out of my raging fangasm over the CW's Reign, that demented little show that has given the huge middle finger to clothing historians and fact-sticklers everywhere with unapologetic abandon.

Ladies Aylee, Fucking LOLA, Greer and Kenna because The CW also mocks your "need" for period-accurate names

This book tapped into that same elastic attitude towards history. Both book and show adhere to the major historical milestones, but it
Linda Lipko
Nine years apart in age, cousins Elizabeth I and Mary were diametrically different. While older than Elizabeth, Mary was the immature one.

While Elizabeth was serious, Mary was silly
While Elizabeth was auspicious, Mary was absurd
While Elizabeth was clever, Mary was foolish
While Elizabeth possessed a great deal of political knowledge and intelligence, Mary was ignorant
While Elizabeth was cunning, Mary was reckless
While Elizabeth was calm and calculating, Mary was impetuous

When writing historical f
This book begins with a Margaret George style (as in The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers) adhering mostly to the facts. Once Mary is under Elizabeth’s house arrest, the memoir gives an alternative history. In this reality, the Earl of Bothwell is Mary’s hero.

The first part was the best. There is imagery of Mary’s sickly, child husband with teams of doctors whispering over him, his successor, King Charles with his pets and no money, and the need for her mother-in
Rio (Lynne)
This woman writes non-fiction? Well, I couldn't take the beginning of this fictional book where history was rewritten. Really, Bothwell saw her beheading? They had a mystery daughter? I know many things are unknown, but ahhhhh come on. Not for me.
Jan 20, 2011 Kristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, own
This is the second book I have read by this author; I really like her style of writing historical FICTION. It flows and is easy to read. The story is easy to grasp, only sometimes it's hard to tell if 10 days or 10 years have past.... I think she could do a little better on that part. I have seen mixed reviews on this one; most of the complaints come in the form that it is not historically correct. For me though, I really don't know that much about Mary, Queen of Scotts (embarrassing, get to stu ...more
Julie Allison
Historical fiction is interesting because the basis is history; the fiction is how that history happened that way, the personalities, the conversations, etc. This novel takes great liberties with history. In this version, Mary has a secret daughter; while under house arrest in England, she manages to escape to Rome and a French farm where her secret daughter lives. That's just not plausible.

This queen is fascinating-- she was married three times, widowed twice, and Husband #3, the Earl of Bothw
Tara Chevrestt
First I want to say that I like Erickson's writing style. Having read one of her books before, I had high expectations for this. This particular novel of hers does not work for me tho. Whereas I like the fact that it is not 1000 pages and it gets to the point, unlike Margaret George's version, I hated how Mary Queen of Scots comes across. She is a simpering, whiny, worthless woman.

The book begins in France with her marriage to the impotent, childlike, and sickly dauphin, Francis. Thankfully, he
I have had a couple Carolly Erickson novels on my shelf for over a year and just never had the time to pick them up – I have also heard many mixed reviews, which could be another reason why I sort of shied away. But while walking through my new library, I saw this on the audio book shelf and decided that now was as good a time as any.

I have mixed feelings about this book. To start off with the good – it was a very dramatic, attention holding story. From beginning to end there was something going
The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots is a first person account of the life of Mary Queen of Scots from around the age of fifteen up until her death by the order of her cousin Queen Elizabeth the first of England. The main character Mary in other books has been displayed as a strong rival of Elizabeth who plotted her death, and who was really more vilified in other plot lines that I've read. She had a strong backing in the Catholic movement of the time, who looked at Elizabeth as a "Protestant Whor ...more
Aug 01, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty sure that when you look at my negative review of the very highly popular "Bite Me" and then this positive review of a book that's usually scored quite lowly,'s probably hard to think my opinion counts for much of anything. Still, I really liked this book. A lot. I know a lot of people had problems with the fact that it wasn't true to the history of Mary, but I didn't buy it for that reason - I bought it because it looked like a well written and interesting book, on a day whe ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Frequently while reading "The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots" I found myself wanting to slap her. First of all, when faced with a dilemma she inevitably chose the worse of her two options. Her reasoning? "Because I'm a queen, and I'm not meant to stay in the background." Ok, you're a queen who never gets to rule anything and ends up being beheaded by your cousin. Enough said. Also, the prologue where her husband is watching her head being chopped off doesn't match the events in the rest of the b ...more
Dec 28, 2013 Liza rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hifi-tudors, uk
Writing this on my ipad since hubby had to work late and is napping near the computer, so no fun gifs this time, and hopefully minimal typos.

I'll start by saying that I liked this enough to read more by Carolly Erickson. It was a good story, an imagining, and definitely entertained me. I'm on a bit of a Mary kick thanks to Reign, so I liked reading another perspective of her life and more ofher later years. This is a work of fiction, and it really was quite fanciful. I almost wish it wasn't call
Lois Clark-Johnston
The first half was good, the second half just strayed too far from reality, with Mary having a daughter Marie-Elizabeth by Bothwell born during her captivity before she escaped Scotland.
Has a highly suspect meeting in a healing bath between Mary and Queen Elizabeth at which time Elizabeth confides that can not have children and does not like children.
Mary is regularly visited by Bothwell during her English captivity as Bothwell disguises himself as a traveling merchant.
The final straw for me ha
Oct 04, 2015 Shanae rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Memoirs of Mary of Scots

This read was a slow going read for me, I had to push myself to get through it. I feel as if the author spent a great deal of wasted time describing the Country or castles instead of giving more insight to the character's thoughts. I enjoy historical fiction and am a huge fan but I felt like the author did more than filled in the missing blanks of history, some actual historical facts were misconstrued. I did appreciate the fact that the story began with the Mary Queen of
Dec 29, 2009 Francine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I'm not sure why I even have this book on my "historical" shelf because there is nothing historical about it. It was pure fiction with very few if any accuracies and boring to boot, and I don't get bored by historical fiction or non-fiction easily. I was warned it wouldn't be good and they were right. I can't recommend it to anyone really.
Feb 08, 2014 Brianna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2016 Nefertari rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't expect my historical fiction to completely stay true to events - the word "fiction" is in that phrase, after all.

However, I don't exactly appreciate it when characters are unrecognizable, save for their names. Nor do I appreciate it when the author decides, "Hey, it's kind of depressing the number of years Mary was in house arrest. Let's let her break out and escape to Europe for a while." If you want a good fictional depiction of Mary, Queen of Scots' life, try the novel of the same nam
Aug 28, 2016 Aleks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Carroll
The Memories of Mary Queen of Scots are not necessarily fun ones to dive into, she had a hard life with many heartbreaks and often struggled to achieve her goals. She was thrown into power as the Queen of France and Scotland at young ages and the idea of being Queen of England as well constantly causing her trouble, against her cousin Elizabeth I. Erickson writes both fiction and nonfiction, she takes great liberties with her take on Mary Stuarts life and gives us the opportunity to hear it fro ...more
This book was a great success. It successfully turned what would be a fascinating life of Mary queen of Scots into a boring Diary of a whining girl. Though it wasn't written too terribly, the over use of the exclamation mark was maddening. Why is every body shouting theatrically? Also, throwing in "alas!" every few paragraphs doesn't make the dialogue feel historical; it's simply inconsequential.
I almost couldn't bring myself to complete it.

The books only saving grace was the Authors creative
Cecilee Linke
Jul 23, 2015 Cecilee Linke rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish

So I came across this book about two years ago at a local library book sale. Not only was I intrigued to see a historical fiction book about a well-known historical figure, but also the show Reign, a drama about Mary Queen of Scots, had started on the CW. And I watched a few episodes of that show, hoping to be drawn into a new show with some historical weight to it.

And that didn't happen. It's a CW show. So it was more fluff than true facts. I gave up on it. Wanting, however, to know more o
Carole Rae
Dec 06, 2011 Carole Rae rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction lovers
Where to begin?
I simply adore Carolly Erickson and her novels. I've read a good chunk of her novels and I've enjoyed all of them! I especially loved The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette. When I seen that she wrote a novel about Queen Mary of the Scots, I couldn't WAIT to read it! Even though Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I are my favorites, I still love Mary. Yes...I'll admit it...I had high expectations and this book went flat with me.
I wish I could say that I "loved" this book as much as Carolly
Nov 22, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read most of Carolly Erickson's historical fiction this novel wasn't my favorite, but I did enjoy it! I really enjoy the way Erickson writes as she guesses how the real-life character might have thought and felt.

The first few pages of this novel cover the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and then revert back to the beginning of her life as she marries the dauphin of France. With each chapter you meet her enemies and supporters, you meet her husbands (most she didn't love, and the love of
Styler Ribarovic
Apr 10, 2011 Styler Ribarovic rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jinny (Lost-At-Sea Book Reviews)
3.5 stars

I’ve always had an interest in historical royalty, and lately I have been filling my bookshelves with historical fiction novels that deal with queens and princesses and such (mostly more Erickson works, and Philippa Gregory as well). I actually did not really know much about Mary, Queen of Scots, prior to reading this book. I have come to really fall in love with her tragic tale. Perhaps it was the way it was portrayed in this book, but I really sympathized for Mary and felt bad that sh
Jean Marie
It's really like 3.5 Stars.

Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most memorable characters in history. Her story is incredible. Not only her Hollywood styled love life is interesting but also her Soap Opera esque career as a monarch. Born as the Queen of Scots when only a few days old, married to the Dauphin of France, widowed as Queen of France before she was twenty, only to return to a chaotic homeland that, after two contraversial marriages, dethroned her, sending her for shelter under her cous
Aug 15, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
I first read Erikson's novel, The Last Wife of Henry VII, and I loved it; then I read her novel, The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, and I thought it was okay. Now I've read her novel, The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots, and I'm not sure if I would consider it even okay. I felt the story was lacking a good grasp of Mary Stuart as a person and I thought Erickson overly romanticized and embellished the history.

I know Erickson acknowledges that her works are historical entertainment, and I have n
Mar 16, 2011 Jo rated it liked it
2.5 stars: I knew going into this that Carolly Erickson isn't exactly known for staying true to facts. She calls her books "historical entertainment" and tends to make up a lot of the characters and their interactions, along with messing around with the dates and time lines or making up events altogether. For example, in this particular book, she invented a secret daughter for Mary, made up the majority of interactions between Mary and Bothwell (considering he was actually imprisoned for much of ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 05, 2015 10:15AM  
  • Virgin: Prelude to the Throne
  • Vengeance Is Mine: A Novel Of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, And Lady Rochford  The Woman Who Helped Destroy Them Both
  • The Rose Without a Thorn (Queens of England, #11)
  • The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3)
  • By Royal Decree (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #3)
  • Three Maids for a Crown
  • Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor
  • A Lady Raised High: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
  • His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester
  • Fatal Majesty: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • The Sixth Wife
  • Elizabeth and Essex
  • In the Shadow of Lady Jane
  • No Will But His: A Novel of Kathryn Howard
  • The Tudor Secret (The Spymaster Chronicles, #1)
  • The Book of Eleanor: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • All the Queen's Players
  • Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her King
Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson is the author of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, The First Elizabeth, Great Catherine, Alexandra and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Hawaii.
More about Carolly Erickson...

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