Her Mother’s Daughter – Julianne Lee

Title: Her Mother’s Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor
Author: Julianne Lee
ISBN: 9780425230084
Pages: 336
Release Date: December 1, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Though history has judged Mary Tudor to be an unforgiving and cruel queen, there is more to her story than meets the eye.  In this book, Mary tries to redeem herself and her legacy by telling her own story, rather than leaving it up to others’ interpretations.

Review:

Though I have been suffering from what Jen over at Devourer of Books calls “Tudor fatigue,” I was still interested in Her Mother’s Daughter.  I’ve stayed away from historical fiction involving the Tudors for some time, so my appetite for them has returned a bit.  Plus, I recently read and loved a non-fiction book about Mary Tudor – The Myth of Bloody Mary by Linda Porter – so I was really curious about this fiction book.

Lee chose to frame Her Mother’s Daughter through the lens of girls at a slumber party, discussing the myth of Bloody Mary – saying “Bloody Mary” three times while looking in the mirror will force her to appear.  In the end, after the girls have gone to bed, she does appear and wants to clarify her story and tell it in her own words.  While this was a unique tool to frame the narrative, it was unnecessary.  It was also a bit distracting, as it is never revisited as the book progresses.

Reading Mary’s story from her own point of view, as well as those close to her, was very interesting.  There was a lot of weight given to her life as a young woman and the pain she feels when her father rejects her.  Lee really manages to put a human face on this vulnerable and frightened girl who is locked in a battle with the most powerful man in the country.  While the book does cover Mary’s whole life, Lee skips sections of it with just a few paragraphs.  This is probably to keep the length of the book accessible and keep the narrative from being bogged down.  However, as a result, it’s helpful to have some background on Mary’s life before picking up Her Mother’s Daughter, as Lee doesn’t hold the reader’s hand when it comes to the history of the period.

Mary isn’t portrayed as a misunderstood saint in Her Mother’s Daughter, which I appreciated.  She made some real mistakes through her reign, and there is no justification for her cruelty.  However, Lee tries to put a human face on the woman, helping the reader to see why she took some of the extreme steps she did.  It’s an interesting book that’s easy to read, and I definitely recommend it for fans of historical fiction.

Comments

  1. Although it sounds interesting — and I like everything Tudor! — I think that the frame story might be a little distracting. I’ll keep this one in mind, but there are other Mary books I’d read first.

  2. Although it sounds interesting — and I like everything Tudor! — I think that the frame story might be a little distracting. I’ll keep this one in mind, but there are other Mary books I’d read first.

  3. I’ve been suffering from a bit of Tutor fatigue as well, but I think I need to read a little more nonfiction about Mary before picking up fictional accounts about her.

  4. I’ve been suffering from a bit of Tutor fatigue as well, but I think I need to read a little more nonfiction about Mary before picking up fictional accounts about her.

  5. I love Tudor novels. I also love the covers of Royal books, they always look amazing.

    This looks to be a great read, added it to my TBR list.

  6. I love Tudor novels. I also love the covers of Royal books, they always look amazing.

    This looks to be a great read, added it to my TBR list.

  7. Oh how I remember the Bloody Mary thing at slumber parties. I think this book sounds really interesting.

  8. Oh how I remember the Bloody Mary thing at slumber parties. I think this book sounds really interesting.

  9. Oooo, I’ve had this on my TBR for a while now. I’m glad you liked it!

  10. Oooo, I’ve had this on my TBR for a while now. I’m glad you liked it!

  11. I love Tudor books… to be honest they started coming out so fast in the past few years that I got overwhelmed and haven’t read near enough of them. I have this one and several I am going to be reading this year. Very nice review. Thanks!

  12. I love Tudor books… to be honest they started coming out so fast in the past few years that I got overwhelmed and haven’t read near enough of them. I have this one and several I am going to be reading this year. Very nice review. Thanks!

  13. If only I could leave the Tudor books alone for long enough to get OVER my fatigue….

  14. If only I could leave the Tudor books alone for long enough to get OVER my fatigue….

  15. This book sounds fascinating. I find the slumber party angle the most intriguing-mostly because it brings back sixth grade slumber party memories of my own.

    I read a lot about Mary in a biography of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, and that book really does illustrate Mary’s “bad rap”. Of course it is true that she murdered hundreds of people in the name of Catholicism, but it is also true that she tried to “do a man’s job” without any masculine support.

    I think she is fascinating. Thanks for the great book idea.

  16. This book sounds fascinating. I find the slumber party angle the most intriguing-mostly because it brings back sixth grade slumber party memories of my own.

    I read a lot about Mary in a biography of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, and that book really does illustrate Mary’s “bad rap”. Of course it is true that she murdered hundreds of people in the name of Catholicism, but it is also true that she tried to “do a man’s job” without any masculine support.

    I think she is fascinating. Thanks for the great book idea.

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