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Sisters To The King: The Tumultuous Lives Of Henry Viii's Sisters Margaret Of Scotland And Mary Of France

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,233 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
The author of the highly acclaimed 'Elizabeth I' and the classic 'Knightsbridge Woman' presents an analysis of the fundamental role of Margaret, Queen of Scotland and Mary, Queen of France in the European power politics of the Tudor age.
Published by Not Avail (first published 1998)
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Modern-day drama enthusiasts are much interested in the marital exploits of Henry VIII. However, readers of all-things Tudor are well-acquainted with the sisters of Henry, Margaret and Mary, whom had drama of their own to contend with. Maria Perry attempts to portrait these Tudor princesses and Queens in, “The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Loves of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France”.

Unfortunately, “The Sisters of Henry VIII” suffers from a slow start—and by ‘slow’, I mean the firs
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elena by: Goodreads
Sisters to the King is a biography of Margaret and Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's sisters.

Margaret and Mary are not very popular in non fiction or historical novels. Their infamous brother and his wives are much more featured. However, their absence is a pity, because both of them lead tumultuous (as the title says) and scandalous lives; and both proved themselves to be very modern women, always ready to fight for their rights and their own happiness.

Perry discusses Mary's and Margaret's lives not se
Oct 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
When I picked up this book, even though I've read a lot about Henry VIII and his wives and children, I had no idea his sisters' lives had been so interesting. Margaret and Mary were both strong, confident, self-sufficient women, sometimes a little out of place in the sixteenth-century world.

The research that Maria Perry did for this book is amazing, and she tells the story of both sisters going from one to the other in an interesting and easy to comprehend way.

Only two things bothered me - one
Oct 23, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This could have been an interesting read. However, I had to stop reading it a couple of chapters in. The writing was all over the place, it had no flow or chronology, and the main character so far is Henry VIII.

Perhaps the publishers received the author's notes for a book and mistakenly printed those? Because at the moment what we appear to have is a book about the cost of clothes, what Henry VIII's childhood was like, Margaret Beaufort and her struggle for the throne, a few things about the War
Sarah Bryson
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit that my initial reason for purchasing this book was because I am quite fascinated with the life of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Charles Brandon was a lifelong friend of Henry VIII and in my opinion he is quite a remarkable man, he dared to marry Henry’s sister Mary without permission, which could amount to treason, and yet he still kept his head on his shoulders! I was interested in reading about the marriage of Charles and Mary Tudor and what their relationship was like and I thoug ...more
Lois Clark-Johnston
Kind of dry but the detail is fantastic. She goes into who spent what amount of money for what amount of clothes or education.
It really goes into detail about what everyday family life was like for the Henry VII his queen Elizabeth of York and their children.
I am surprised by what she has uncovered vs what other historical authors have written.
Bonnie Wilson
Feb 11, 2017 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure this is a good book if you like this sort of detail ... I just don't have the patience for it.
3.5 stars

This is a nonfiction account of the lives of Henry VIII's sisters. Margaret, his older sister, was married to James IV of Scotland. She moved there and married him at 13 years old. He died young, and Margaret went on to marry two more times. Henry's younger sister, Mary, was married off to the much older King of France, Louis XII. They were only married for a few months before he died, giving Mary a chance to return to England and marry the man she loved, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffol
I very much enjoyed how detailed the descriptions in this book were. Also, the author mostly let the subjects speak for themselves, which seems to be a rarity in biographies, where authors play amateur psychologist and constantly impose their own thoughts/feelings. My only complaint would be that too much time is spent on Henry VII himself, particularly the divorce from Katharine of Aragon. I felt that by doing that, Mary and Margaret were pushed to the sidelines.
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When focusing on the Tudor period, we tend to focus largely on Henry VIII and his Six Wives, followed by a quick dash of Edward and Mary, before focusing on Elizabeth I and the Armada, plots with Mary, Queen of Scots, and various suitors for her hand in marriage, particularly that of Lord Robert Dudley. Henry's two sisters- yes two, ignore the TV series the Tudors- tend to get overlooked, apart from a little mention here and there. When in fact, they actually played a huge part in the politics o ...more
A very enlightening and interesting biography.

The lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France, the two surviving sisters of Henry VIII is tumultuous indeed. Both sisters share their brother's characteristic of loving wholly and passionately as both choose their second husbands for love despite the consequences.

Perry is good switching from one sister to the other, informing the reader of those they come into contact with and certain events and displays. She shows the energetic women of the T
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book jumped around quite a bit. It was hard to follow at times. I enjoyed what i read about the sisters as I did not know much about Margaret, but much of the story is about Henry VIII and his" great matter" trying to get divorced from Katherine to marry Anne. Much of the information I already knew since I had already read pretty many books on him. I'm not sure if more information cannot be found on the sisters, but I would have like more information on his sisters and less about his great ...more
Nelina Kapetsoni
Dec 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bad book! And I don't say so lightly. To begin with, it is not well written. Whole paragraphs seem to be random notes. There are repetitions and the order of events can be problematic for the reader.
Then, it's the problem of the two subjects. This is definitely not the biography of Henry's sisters but of Henry himself with references to his sisters! We get for example a very detailed account for the preparations for the Field of the Cloth of Gold, but learn almost nothing about Mary's
Sep 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mary and Margaret had such interesting lives. Sadly, this biography couldn't convey that at all. Dull in the extreme.
Nichole Holdorf
May 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Dnf was all over the place. I called it quits around pg 200.
Stephanie Burkhart
Perry pens an enlightening historical account of Henry VIII's sisters, Margaret and Mary, that gives the reader a broader perspective of the Tudors.

The novel starts off with Perry taking a look at their father, Henry VII. He brought stability to the throne, but despite his attempts to secure his male progeny, only three of his seven children lived to adulthood – Henry VIII, Margaret, Queen of Scots, and Mary, Queen of France. Knowing this, Henry VII muses to his councilors, "Supposing, which God
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English history fanatics
I don't see the justification for calling the younger sister, Mary's, life tumultous. As far as I can tell from this book, she struck a bargain with Henry that if she married the doddering old man who was king of France, and was a good wife to him, she'd get to choose who to marry next. And that turned out to be his best friend, Charles Brandon. The rest of her life seemed fairly quiet. Margaret's life qualifies as tumultous. I had great trouble figuring out Margaret's and Mary's ages in this bo ...more
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-hist-english
Truly excellent, thoroughly enjoyable narrative history. Many readers will be surprised to find out just how much a part in the events of Tudor England was played by Henry VIII's two sisters, Margaret & Mary. Both had completely traditional first marriages, taking place at a young age & arranged for purely dynastic reasons: Margaret to King James IV of Scotland & Mary to King Louis XIII of France, both in hopes of cementing more permanent alliances with these two traditional enemies ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mom-owns
I did enjoy this book and learned something from it. However, be aware when you pick it up that the book is really about all 4 siblings that survived past early childhood (Arthur, Margaret, Henry, and Mary). Much of the book is devoted to Henry's divorce.
The author obviously did her research and looked for things that perhaps were previously unpublished, however, those things were probably unpublished for a reason. Lists of how much items purchased by one of the royals cost is pretty meaningless
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book because I am a history buff and I love the Tudor age, War of the Roses, medieval England, Anglo-Scottish relations, etc. I love learning more about powerful royal women throughout history and I knew very little about Margeret, sister to Henry VIII, and only a bit about Mary, his beautiful younger sister. Perry obviously did her research, she has so many details and facts presented that one might argue she got lost in the details and forgot about the plot! Instead of focusing ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great coverage of two often-overlooked Tudors. Reviewers panned Perry's writing style but I found it concise and the depth of detail was refreshing. In some instances, Perry covered the same events and people that are often included in tudor histories and biographies, but instead of quoting the same sources (line for line) as other writers, she gives more background, detail and great coverage of the sisters' respective lives.

This work covers Henry VIII extensively, but, again, Perry offers a de
I've long been fascinated with Tudor history, however I've yet to read a truly good biography of either Margaret or Mary Tudor. They are, unfortunately, greatly overshadowed by their infamous brother, or mentioned only in their relation to their royal descendants.

I enjoyed this book, particularly the first half, but was frequently agitated by the inconsistency in flow. I would've have preferred separate sections on each woman instead of mashing them together, especially since their lives rarely
Heather Domin
Apr 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable look at the lives of two Tudor women many people forget existed. Yes, there's a lot of talk about what they wore and what it cost - that's because sometimes these are the only details we have, and it's up to the historian to use these bits of information to draw a bigger picture. There's plenty more research here to balance out all that cloth of gold. I do agree that at the end there's too much focus on the Anne Boleyn drama; it's interesting to compare the situation with Margar ...more
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tudor enthusiasts
Shelves: tudor-nonfiction
I was thrilled to find this book, as I knew relatively little about the sisters of Henry VIII. My focus had always been on his wife. I knew the basics of the life of his sister, Mary, (whose life in essentials was brought to life on The Tudors, with some things changed), but I knew next to nothing about his older sister, Margaret, except for the fact that she was the grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots.

Perry does a good job bringing together the sources and weaving the sisters' stories into that
The book was due back to the library before I come back from vacation, so I gave up and returned it this morning. I got about halfway through before finally saying enough is enough. While the writing isn't bad; it doesn't offer anything new or interesting either. It is told in the manner of someone doing a research paper; no emotion, no speculation, no nothing. If you like those types of NF, this would be a good book for you. It also provides a lot of information on Henry VIII, more information ...more
Madame Mona Lisa
“I gave it 3★'s. I was much more interested in Margaret's story as I didn't know much about her life and story prior to reading this. I found the descriptions of court life and dress rather tedious in places and got bored. The end was a lot of Henry and his divorce which I wasn't interested in and didn't see how it was relevant to a story on Margaret and Mary. I'm glad I read this book as I learned a lot about Margaret's life but I don't think I will be reading anymore from this author unless it ...more
Nicole Kapise-Perkins
So having finally gotten to read about Henry VIII's sisters, Queens who were willing to defy convention and live the way they wanted (go Margaret and Mary!) I was disappointed in that this book still devoted a good 1/3 of the volume to Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon, his marriage and murder of Anne Boleyn, and his marriage to Jane Seymour. We get it. There's only hundreds of books about Henry VIII; it would have been nice if there was a book just about his sisters. All in all, though, ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit more Margaret than Mary, but it seems that after Mary's big event (as the Dowager Queen of France secretly marrying Henry VIII's friend the Duke of Suffolk) she led an uneventful life. I did learn quite a bit about Margaret, though. Writing seemed a bit uneven. The book started off giving lots of details about all kinds of events in their lives, then as the book went on events seemed to be rushed. It was almost as if the author began to tire and wanted to be through. Or, perhaps, there jus ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't figure out how this book was arranged. It wasn't chronological. It wasn't topical. *shrugs*

Disorganization aside, I found it boring. I prefer a more narrative approach to biographies. This had lots of lists of facts. (So much was spent on this occasion. These people attended this event. etc.) Quite often it felt like the author was writing a paper and trying to impress me with all the research she did. (For the record, I wasn't impressed.)
I did learn more about Mary Queen of France and Margaret Queen of Scots than I had previously known, but the latter half of this so-called story of Henry's sisters' lives was mainly about Henry VIII's struggle to divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. Occasionally the author would digress from Henry and Anne's affair and discuss what Mary and Margaret were doing at the time. Their stories seemed secondary to his, though.
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Actress and writer Maria Perry was brought up in Cheshire by a grandmother who liked good diamonds and believed women's education harmed the complexion. Sent to Manchaster High School and a graduate of Somerville College, Oxford, she has had some narrow escapes.

After abandoning a career in journalism for the chorus of Jesus Christ Superstar, she wrote a biography of Elizabeth I and was invited to
More about Maria Perry...

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