By in Books

A Fascinating Historical Read

I've just finished a book written in the 60s by a lady called Antonia Fraser, she wrote a lot of historical non-fiction during that decade but I'd never actually heard of her until I found this book in a charity shop a few weeks ago. The subject of the book is Mary Queen of Scots, a figure I know a little about as she overlaps the Tudor dynasty who I have a huge interest in - I didn't know much more other than the basics of her life and death though, and having got through the 600+ pages in this book I can honestly say I've learned an awful lot.

I read historical fiction and non-fiction but something about Fraser's style of writing really appeals to me, it's quite heavy going in places (especially in light of everyone being called John, Thomas or Henry at the time...) but the author's turn of phrase is so interesting and inclusive. I also like the fact she seems more light-hearted, maybe even a touch more romantic, than more modern historians who are becoming ever more exact in their telling of events and failing to look at the 'maybes'. No one can be 100% sure of anything that happened 428 years ago so it was nice to hear the author's version of the Queen's story as well as looking at the facts and figures regarding her life.

I'm going to get onto Ebay tomorrow and see what other books I can get my hands on by Antonia Fraser - and if you'd like to know more about this fascinating historical character do look out for the book, named simply Mary Queen of Scots.

Photo credit - Pixabay (I know it's a German crown but it's very pretty!)

Image Credit » by skeeze

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


Rufuszen wrote on September 15, 2015, 10:08 AM

I like historical thrillers, like the John Shakespeare (brother of Will!) series, an agent of Walsingham and the Matthew Shardlake books, a lawyer in the time of HenryVIII.

Kasman wrote on September 15, 2015, 3:41 PM

My home, in the ancient Kingdom of Fife on the east coast of Scotland is a mere 15-minute drive from the small village of Falkland and its Palace which James, Mary's father occupied and extended and where Mary spent some time and not much further from Loch Leven where she was imprisoned in a castle on an island for a while. Falkland Palace is still a magnificent edifice and well worth a visit is you're ever up this way.

VinceSummers wrote on September 15, 2015, 5:02 PM

I enjoy a smidgen of history, but mostly about what relates in some way to Bible History. Now *there's* fascinating stuff. As to authors? I enjoy Thomas B. Costain for his historic novels.

Paulie wrote on September 16, 2015, 3:26 AM

Thanks for sharing this historical read. I must read this book by Antonia Fraser.

chrisandmark wrote on September 16, 2015, 6:38 AM

I've only read a couple of Shardlake novels but really enjoyed them, I must get some more (don't know why I haven't before now actually). I'll look out for John Shakespeare too, that rings a bell so may have tried one of those in the past too

chrisandmark wrote on September 16, 2015, 7:01 AM

I'd love to visit your part of the world, Edinburgh is pencilled in for next year and I'm currently trying to convince my partner that more of a 'road trip' around Scotland is in order - I'd love to see Falkland Palace, I don't know much about the place other than the name but the book has inspired me to learn a little more about the Scottish royal history and how it connects (or doesn't!) with ours in England

chrisandmark wrote on September 16, 2015, 7:14 AM

My mum likes reading about bible history, it's been an interest for her for years. I'll check out Thomas B Costain, thanks for the recommendation

chrisandmark wrote on September 16, 2015, 7:15 AM

She's an author I really recommend if you want to find out a little about the old-time English royalty

Rufuszen wrote on September 16, 2015, 7:40 AM

Rory Clements is the author, I've enjoyed all his novels. I found Heartsone, with Shardlake, somewhat heavy going

CoralLevang wrote on September 16, 2015, 12:14 PM

I have been reading "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" which was authored by Erik Larson, a couple of years ago. Though non-fiction, his writing style is of that of a story-teller, which I really like a lot. It makes history so much more interesting to me when written this way.

AliCanary wrote on September 17, 2015, 5:44 PM

Man, you'd BETTER learn a lot from a 600-page book! I'm glad you enjoyed it.