Mary, Queen of Scots is one of my favourite European queens so I was pretty excited to read this book that has a fictional account of her preteen years. I think the best way of summing up my reading experience with this book is that it was mildly interesting. My expectations were a little high, I suppose, especially since Mary is one of my favourites.
This book takes place during the part of Mary’s life when she is living in France with her betrothed, Francis, the crown prince of France. She is Mary, Queen of the Scots, but she is far from Scotland. In the book, Mary misses Scotland and tries to assert her position as a royal Queen, even though in France she is “merely” the betrothed of their Dauphin.
Sadly, not much seems to happen in this book, plot-wise. Mary contemplates her friendship with Francis, her best friends who are all named Mary, and delicately dances around her future mother-in-law, the current Queen of France. The story doesn’t lead up to anything exciting, it’s truly like a diary of her day to day affairs, and unfortunately, since this book is about her childhood, it is nowhere as interesting as her adult life.
She spends an awful lot of time reminiscing about Scotland in this book, which I personally found odd. The real Mary left Scotland at age five and spent the next thirteen years in the French court. Historically, part of Mary’s problem with ruling Scotland was that she was too French. I suppose the author wanted to emphasize that she is Queen of the Scots, and related to Scotland, since the series already has a number of historical princesses from France (Marie Antoinette, Eleanor of Aquitaine …). Still, in my opinion, having left Scotland at such a young age, I found it difficult to believe Mary was as Scottish as this book made her appear to be.
I thought this book was okay, but it did lack a lot of pizzazz. I’m still, of course, a big fan of this children’s series, so I will continue to read on about more princesses!