Rating: 3. 5 out of 5
Title: The Forgotten Queen
Author: D.L Bogdan
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Kensington Publishing (29 Jan 2013)
This is the story of Queen Margaret of the Scots, and the sister of King Henry VIII.
I really enjoyed the character Princess Margaret and her early life of childhood through to early adulthood. In fact I would say the first half of this book is the best reason to read it. I giggled when young Princess Margret was confessing her sins to the Cardinal. He asked her if there was anything else she wished to confess to which she replied "I'm sorry, Your Grace, it's just that I sin with such terrible frequency - I can't seem to keep track. I suppose I should make a list....""
As a Regent Queen and a mother to a future King she was really ill prepared. She had been raised to look pretty and pop out babies and that was it. I think she was a smart girl but she never seemed to think bigger picture or long term ramifications of her actions. For instance it was specifically spelled out that if she married again she would lose her regency and her soon could potentially lose the throne - so not even 6 months after the death of her husband she remarried, in secret, to a man and his family that is hated by nearly every clan in Scotland. From what I could tell she didn't even love him just wanted him to make her feel pretty.
But I really must say by the end of the book I was really very much over her and lost a lot of sympathy for her over her treatment of her closest friend and lady in waiting (or maid I am not sure now what she was but a lower station anyway) Ellen. But to be fair Margret was a pretty sad figure by then desperately clinging to the life she thought she was entitled to, with out realising she had it.
The book was quite good and seemed to follow the key points in Queen Margret's history closely. The author did a good job of bringing her to life and to be honest she had a bit of a sad and almost pathetic life.
When I first finished the book as you might have gathered I was not terribly impressed with her as a human being, but on reflection how else should she have acted? Her whole life had been tied into her position and her looks, she was used and abused by people she loved, and made some pretty bad decisions on her behalf. She didn't strike me as a strong willed person so I guess when her world gets taken away in the end (her son marries and there is a new Queen of Scotland) she would be resentful and bitter. Being a Princess is all nice and romantic in theory but their lives sucked being basically raised to be pawns in their countries (and fathers) ambitions and Alliances.
Plus it is all well and good to criticise her but by 35 she had been married, widowed, given birth to numerous children, ruled a country and fled a country. What I have done? well I started a book blog and I did create a whole new Records Keeping Policy for my work place. I think she kinda wins even if some of her decisions were pretty poor she probably had more impact on the history of her country then I ever will.
All in all it was an interesting read and for once a figure in history who isn't well known and hero or villain. She did the best with what she had, she wasn't much. It also gives another perspective to the Henry the VIII reign and the Tudor story.
The copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher and Netgalley. It did not influence my views or opinions of this book or give a favourable review.